Vidyodaya school has been the turning point of the education programme with the adivasi community seeing for themselves that their children were able to do as well as any other child. It has been a source of inspiration to many people not just the community here. Even amongst the schools in the town of Gudalur they are now welcoming the children who finish from here. This is a major achievement.
The methodology, curriculum and the entire system of managing the school has been different providing an atmosphere of freedom with discipline, joy with industry, learning with caring. Setting aside of time specifically for handwork, project work where they are exposed to various vocations and skills, saving money that issued for their school needs, have all been innovative and important aspects of the school which has made an impact on the alternative education scenario in the country.
- Vidyodaya has evolved as an adivasi school with incorporation of adivasi history, culture, songs and stories into the school’s curriculum. Children are encouraged to speak their languages and teachers also take the trouble to learn their languages. Adivasi elders and leaders are also asked to make presentations about their lives and their understanding of life. It has brought out publications in the Paniya language of a primer and book of stories and songs.
- The school has a non-competitive and cooperative approach which goes well with the ethos of the adivasis
- Teacher-student ratio being around 1:10 has helped children to cover their academic backlog and improve academically.
- As Teachers in the pre-primary and early section being adivasis who could speak their language, children are able to interact freely and happily.
- The school has a group system rather than a class system allowing for the mobility among children depending upon their levels. Children are assessed every quarter and changes made.
- Parents, community members and elders being present in the school to observe or teach about their cultural forms has helped tremendously in boosting the self-image of the children
- Co-curricular activities particularly handicrafts being given equal importance, has helped in balancing out their various talents and find areas of achievement.
- Children are now vocal and have developed tremendous self-confidence.
- A positive and close relationship with parents has also helped to instil confidence and ownership. All major decisions are taken in consultation with them.
- The Children’s Bank which was started in the school has spread as an idea to the villages. The savings of the children in the school has grown from a mere 3000/- a year to around 12,000/- a year.
- The admissions to the school continue to be high and we have tried to limit the numbers for want of space. The Table below shows the strength for the last eight years.
- A major achievement of the school has been the transfer of management of the school to the adivasi team of the Adivasi Teachers Surendiran, Shanthi and Janaki. Of these three, Shanthi and Surendiran are also members of Viswa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust. Thus, the school is now an institution owned and run by the adivasis.
- The school has been the base for providing in-service training to teacher trainees in multi-grade teaching techniques. Besides it has been a source of developing and providing teaching/learning aids.
In the future the school is to continue as a Middle school which will be a model school. Secondly, it will be a demonstration school for the trainees. Thirdly, it can function as a Nodal centre for the NIOS sub-centres.