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.