The month of March is usually a jolly time for the students in India as it marks the end of the academic year, embarking them on a new grade, but the two months of summer vacation excites them.
With the global pandemic, March 2022 was unexpected and different. Akanksha Foundation made all the difference by empowering students to return back to school after the pandemic.
Around 250 million students were affected due to the school closures with the onset of the pandemic. They had to face several challenges, such as an expected rise in dropouts, learning losses, and an increase in the digital divide between public and private schools.
Akanksha Foundation grasped that students from affluent families quickly pivoted to an online model. They easily got the access to the internet, tablets, and laptops. But, students coming from the marginalized sectors or those who have no access to the multi-access gadget to attend the online class have regressed behind their peers.
With the will to empower and educate a larger community, irrespective of the background of the students, Akanksha Foundation is bridging the learning gap. It is also prioritizing emotional well-being and mental health.
Mad4India brings an evolving and inspiring story of The Akanksha Foundation, an NGO that is on a mission to build the largest network of innovative schools.
What started as a simple idea to deliver quality education in 1991 is now the urban network of public and private schools of innovation! The Akanksha Foundation has grown from an organization of student volunteers to a professional organization that is now in the pursuit of providing educational opportunities to less-privileged students.
This 30-year-old NGO has dutifully indulged itself to provide better education to students from low-income families across Mumbai and Pune.
Shaheen Mistri, the founder of The Akanksha Foundation, started with 15 children and 1 teacher at Holy Name School in Colaba, Mumbai. Today, it has over 27 schools with more than 10,00 students across Mumbai and Pune. It has collaborated with the Nagpur Municipal Corporation to run six schools.
With schools reopening, The Akanksha Foundation has assured that 95% of students have returned to school. It was a massive achievement for them. The success of the back-to-school drive ensured that the socio-economic well-being of the students was met off. The NGO was constantly in touch with them, and the teachers would regularly call the students.
One of the underlying causes of The Akanksha Foundation was that it introduced the Socio-Emotional and Ethical Learning (SEEL) curriculum, which includes an educational outreach program for both students and teachers. It also prevented girls from getting married off as minors and boys from becoming the sole breadwinners of their families.
With technological advancement, the NGO is focusing to bridge the learning gap. Along with curriculum modifications and remedial measures. It hopes to modify children’s will to learn.
The core values of The Akanksha Foundation were not only to make sure that the children get access to education. The Akanksha Foundation has contributed to modifying the education of impoverished and low-income families. It also pivots a role in emotional well-being and mental health.
The NGO has also introduced blended learning. It will emphasize students focusing on the classroom. After a long break from the online model of education, The Akanksha Foundation foresees that children are accustomed to the school environment.
The ever-growing institution, The Akanksha Foundation, has attributed a unique approach academically but promotes the mental health and well-being of the students.
With the motto of learning, nurturing, and engaging student-parent dimensions, The Akanksha Foundation has bestowed itself to building the largest network of innovative schools that empowers and educates the students to maximize their skills and potential.
In 30 years of span, the NGO has opened 27 schools in 3 cities with more than 10,000 children.
Apart from providing quality education and helping students from weaker sections of the student get access to school, they have also emerged and grown through counseling about emotional support and creating a Socio-Emotional & Ethical Learning Curriculum.
Mad4India hopes that The Akanksha Foundation continues to work for the betterment of society and hopes to see more such institutions doing great work.
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