Education

Education

Pokhrama Foundation works to bring quality education to socially and economically disadvantaged students in underdeveloped parts of rural India. The Foundation began its work in education in 2016, in Lakhisarai, Bihar. For three years the Foundation offered students scholarships to the best regarded local schools of the area. This experiment opened the Foundation’s eyes to many problems relating to school education in the country, and more specifically in the Lakhisarai area and Bihar.

The Pokhrama Foundation Academy

Common facts about schools in Lakhisarai

Average class size is 65 students/class

60% schools have no more than three teachers

Dedicated toilets for girls – 3% schools

Corporal punishment

Rote Learning

Teaching to Tests

Poor representation of girls in schools

Poorly qualified teachers

PFA provides exceptional education to disadvantaged students. It is committed to excellence across a curriculum that includes scholastic disciplines as well as performing and visual arts, computer programming and health and physical education. We believe in academic rigor and meeting high standards, while always keeping our focus on the whole child. Ours is an education that aims to liberate from ignorance, generational poverty, discrimination and lack of opportunity. Hence the Academy’s motto: sa vidya ya vimuktaye/ that which truly liberates is education. Read more about our educational vision.

Pokhrama Foundation Academy today operates from a spacious 7-acre campus, teaching 113 students from Kindergarten to Class 9th — with the provision of adding a new grade each year. Read more about our Campus.

Our Children’s Corner

Our Fundamental Principles

Excellence is our pursuit. And the pursuit of excellence demands that we try to get several difficult balances right. The first of these is the balance between excellence and equity. This balance of equity and excellence in many ways is the raison de’tre of the Foundation’s work. We wish our school to be a center of excellence that gets the best of teachers and produces wonderfully accomplished, confident and successful students. But we also want to put this excellence within reach of the most disadvantaged and marginalized communities. Reaching students from these groups takes special effort and allocation of resources. But we are determined to do both. READ ABOUT OUR LEARNIG CENTER.

Another important balance is between schooling and education. The pre-eminent educationalist, Marjorie Sykes, a disciple of Gandhi and Tagore, believed that teachers ought to be first concerned with education, not schooling. Like an able gardener does with plants, or a sensible nurse with her patients, the wise teacher should know when to leave the children alone so that they get on with their own growing, ‘do their own thing’ while the teacher steps back to watch, ‘concerned to understand but not to interfere’. But in stepping back to facilitate, teachers must help their pupils to refine the habit of questioning, something so natural in humans. They must themselves inculcate the spirit of enquiry. Our school, therefore, tries to remain sufficiently ‘de-schooled’, a tight rope balance that is hard to achieve.

There are other balances as well to achieve: between humanities on the one hand and science and mathematics (STEM disciplines) on the other; between English on one side and Indian languages (Hindi, Maghi, Sanskrit, Urdu) on the other; between academic and non-academic curricular areas; and between education for self-discovery and refinement on the one hand and social mobility and employment on another.

Another important aim of the educational experiment at Pokhrama is to disturb the insularity of the area—to bring the world to Pokhrama, and Pokhrama to the world. We therefore consciously promote diversity at PFA. Our teachers are from different parts of India, they follow different religions, and observe customs of their own areas. Teachers bring with them an expansion and broadening of experience and perspective which kids at Pokhrama appreciate and crave.

Abhayadanam - The gift of fearlessness

As a teaching-learning community, the PFA is marked by the absence of any kind of fear. Abhayadanam or the “gift of fearlessness” belongs with all members of the school body—its students, teachers and non-teaching staff. All members of PFA are encouraged to be “self- governing” and respectful of all. Students are commended for asking questions, thinking for themselves and expressing themselves freely. There are no hierarchies and the rules and outcomes are arrived at in consultation between students and teachers. Read more about the self- governing structure of PFA.

Educating the Head, Heart and Hand – “an education for life, through life”

Our education, as Gandhiji urged, involves the head, heart and hand.  It seeks to create a deep interplay between the cognitive, affective, aesthetic, cultural and physical domains.  An active sense of ‘learning by doing’, grasping several concepts across the various curricular areas are important to us. Classroom activities are related to real-life situations. At PFA we provide “an education for life, through life”.  We are focused on developing multiple faculties and intelligence and focus on the whole child. Our children come from challenging circumstances, some have seen extreme violence and disadvantage. We acknowledge that, work with it through our curriculum, have daily yoga and meditation and consult with therapists as and when needed.

The PFA is a vibrant teaching-learning community marked by the absence of any kind of fear. Abhayadanam or the “gift of fearlessness” belongs with all members of the school body—its students, teachers and non-teaching staff. All members of PFA are encouraged to be “self- governing” and respectful of all. Students are commended for asking questions, thinking for themselves and expressing themselves freely.

Our education simultaneously involves the head, heart and hand, as Mahatma Gandhi had urged. It seeks to create a deep interplay between the cognitive, affective, aesthetic, cultural and physical domains. An active sense of ‘learning by doing’, grasping several conceptsacross the various curricular areas are important to us. Classroom activities are related to real-life situations. At PFA we provide “an education for life, through life”. The School follows the CBSE curriculum at all grade levels, uses NCERT books, and teaches in dual medium—using both English and Hindi.

Our quest for excellence depends on getting several difficult balances right.

  • schooling and education
  • education for self-discovery and refinement and education for social mobility
  • Academics and co-curricular activities
  • Maths and Science on one side and Humanities and Social Sciences on the other
  • English on one side and Indian languages (Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit and the local language Maghi) on the other.
  • equity and excellence