Five inspirational Indian schools have been named in the Top 10 shortlists for the new $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes, launched this year by T4 Education in partnership with Templeton World Charity Foundation, Accenture and American Express.
One of them is The Akanksha Foundation’s PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel for it’s impact in community collaboration.
A few months ago, T4, an organization based out of the UK, initiated a World’s Best School Prize to celebrate schools across the world, with an opportunity to recognize and share their best practices around the world. The World’s Best School Prizes shine a spotlight on schools whose principals, teachers, and communities have demonstrated exemplary leadership and innovation to improve the education of their students in the shadow of a global pandemic.
Akanksha’s PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel was selected after reviewing thousands of applications from schools across the world by a review panel consisting of experts in the education sector. This is a victory not just for one school but for our entire network that deeply believes in the ideology of partnering with the community.
Here’s what Saurabh Taneja, the CEO of the Akanksha Foundation shares – “Parents and our communities have been our partners for as long as Akanksha has existed. For the purpose of this partnership to be crystallized and presented through one school is a moment of pride and a milestone for every Akanksha school.
I want to recognize Sushma Pathare’s leadership in instilling and showcasing the purpose and power of our community and leveraging it by bringing together teachers, social workers, and every stakeholder with our parents.
The pandemic has shown us the difference an invested family can make in a child’s development. We’ve seen our parents learn so children could learn, sing so children could sing, and share who they are so their children understood them and dared to share too.”
Sushma Pathare, School Leader (Principal) of PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel shares – ‘We enabled parent voice to design and modify policies, structures, systems at a school level so that there is more ownership that parents feel towards their school.
The five World’s Best School Prizes, founded by T4 Education in partnership with Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, Templeton World Charity Foundation, and the Lemann Foundation, celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress especially in the wake of COVID.
Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said: “With over 1.5 billion learners impacted by school and university closures, COVID has greatly exacerbated a global education crisis in which, even before the pandemic, the UN warned progress was already too slow to achieve universal quality education by 2030.
“We have launched the World’s Best School Prizes as a grassroots solution to help build the systemic change needed. By telling the stories of inspirational schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities, schools can share their best practices and have their voices heard at the top table to help transform education.
“I want to congratulate SVKM’s CNM School, SDMC Primary School Lajpat Nagar III, Khoj School, PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel, and Samaritan Mission School (High) for making the Top 10 shortlists for the inaugural World’s Best School Prizes. Educators all over the world will now be able to learn from the examples of these outstanding Indian schools.”
About The Akanksha Foundation’s PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel:
The Akanksha Foundation’s PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel, a school in Pune, India has created a cultural dynamic centred on close ties within the community and with parents as partners in children’s holistic development.
The school resides in a small, remote village and is run as a Public Private Partnership between NGO the Akanksha Foundation and local government. Most of its students come from low-income families and many parents had little education and did not always see education as important for their child when earning a living is the biggest priority.
With the knowledge that parents have a profound impact on children’s ability to learn and absorb information, the school makes home visits to better understand students’ home environments and build strong relationships with their parents, instilling in them the importance of education.
PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel also works with local doctors, grocers and religious leaders to help create programmes that help parents in financial need. The school launched a programme of free medical check-ups in the community and ‘Master Chef’ style classes were launched that taught families about how to have a healthy and balanced diet. Students are also part of a daily fruit eating initiative that keeps them on track for healthy eating and every week they have a set meal plan. The impact has trickled into their home lives as parents have started to follow the same nutrition plan.
To work on the emotional needs of its students and their families, social workers and counsellors scheduled meetings with parents, offering therapy for any distress caused by their background or financial status. For some parents, these talks worked to great effect, allowing them to become emotionally stable enough to help support not only their own children, but others as well. Such schemes helped create a more vibrant and tight knit community in the village, with parents becoming more actively involved in the management of the school and their children’s lives.
The Top 3 finalists for each of the five World’s Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives – will be announced later this year. After a public advisory vote, the winner of each Prize will be chosen based on rigorous criteria by a Judging Academy comprising distinguished leaders all across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector.
The winners will be announced in October 2022 at World Education Week. A prize of US$250,000 will be equally shared among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000.
All 50 shortlisted schools across the five Prizes will share their best practices through toolkits that showcase their “secret sauce” to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education everywhere.