Everyone of us make lot of important decisions in our life. Some turn out to be great decisions, some turn out to be lessons. I think one of the best decisions that we made was choosing Eklavya as Aditya’s school. Yes – Eklavya, the school.
Eklavya School is one of the unique schools. To me, it represents a thought. It represents an experiment to create model citizens. It represents an idea to create smart, sensitive, aware, happy and well-rounded individuals. It is an idealistic fusion of values and life skills.
The credit for creating Eklavya Institution goes to Shri Sunil Handa and his team. He is a genius and has created this vision and translated this into action. Equal credit goes to him team, who live and breathe his vision. The Eklavya way of life and values are noticed from the bus conductor, bus driver, watchman to everyone else in the school.
Choosing Eklavya was a leap of faith for us. Everyone was against us. We got strong reactions which included the following:
– You have a child just over three years and you are giving him such hardship?
– A drive of 2 hours to and fro daily?
– Are you mad?
– Do not rob child’s free time?
– You and your wife will not have any life!
– Eklavya school is very strict?
– Eklavya people are unreasonable and impractical – think twice?
Even our both set of parents had some reservations. Our friends had reservations. Some still do. Primarily due to distance.
However, we are very happy with our decision. No doubt, the distance involved is big – but every parent and child have to travel these days. If I was in Bombay and not posted in Ahmedabad, my son would have eventually spent same time in Bombay traffic.
My wife has to spend a very good amount of time on my son’s education. I have to contribute as well. But we are happy about it. We want to be part of our child’s education process. We are not living in the ‘Child Slogs At School, Parents Live Own Life’ syndrome.
We strongly believe that parents need to be involved with their child’s education. We cannot expect that once we enroll our child in school, our responsibility ends. It is like investing money blindly in stocks and mutual funds and expecting monthly cheques without using our intelligence and time. And every child is the biggest asset and hence their education is the biggest investment parents make! Children are our only real legacy !
Eklavya has following good practices:
1. Every child and teacher and educators have to travel only in the school bus. No student can drive on their own to the school. Parents cannot pick up the child from any other place.
2. Any one parent has to attend the Parents’ Workshop every fortnight. The parent is updated on the child’s progress, the current curriculum in the class, the plan for the forthcoming fortnight etc. It is important that parents reinforce the school education to aid faster learning.
3. Only home made food allowed in the school. Many schools have similar practice. Good for everyone!
4. Eklavya has minimal holidays. Eklavya functions on independence day, festival days etc. I have seen that other school have frequent holidays. Eklavya ensures that festivals are celebrated in schools and children understand the rationale of festival, practices etc. A unique event is that entire household having a holiday while our son has the school. They make up for school events by working on saturdays. Some parents hate it. But this speaks of the commitment and effort on part of Eklavya school as well.
5. Eklavya is strict on expected behavior at school.
6. Every event and function at school is inclusive. All students participate in annual celebrations and sports. The senior students help the junior students in organizing and managing the event. (The sports days and Euphoria days are sight to see. You can see thousands of car around Eklavya. The Eklavya team does a phenomenal job at traffic management but the sheer volume of cars ensures that the highways are full of Eklavya parent vehicles. As soon the school gates open, parents run to grab the best seats to see the performance. For parents, it also becomes a good networking event)
7. Parents have to attend the annual IPEM workshops twice a year. No excuses on that. It is required to review child’s progress and it is an opportunity for the parents to have a open discussion.
8. Eklavya gives back to the society in spirit and action. It provides financial assistance to several students. It provides teacher training and shares best practices.
There are many more things that they do and we love it !
I am sure many others schools in India and Ahmedabad have been inspired by Eklavya now. Many other schools may have these similar ideas. But the key is the execution and living the values. The force behind success of Eklavya is Eklavya Team and Eklavya Founder Sunil Handa. Many people know him through his Entrepreneurship course in IIMA. He was also featured in the book ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish‘. The principal with whom we interact is an epitome of humility, intelligence, care and discipline – all rolled into one ! Teachers are important role models for children and Eklavya is a good inspiration ground.
I am called an Eklavya Evangelist at my workplace and I am accused of converting many parents. I can proudly say that we can have a Eklavya Group at our office now ! The idea is simple – the future citizens will excel only if the overall environment is re-enforcing and re-iterating the values and ideas that they value.