Brahmanand Vidya School

This is where the whole idea of setting up BEHT began back in 1996. Seeing children roaming around without hope inspired the trustees of BEHT to work towards a goal of helping them. What started up as a small education project for 200 boys has grown into a project for over 1,400 children. With the news spreading of how well the school is doing at the District level, the demand for entry into the school is growing year on year. With the desire to offer similar opportunities to girls, BEHT has worked actively to fulfil this goal and boarding houses for girls have been built.

In Chaparda, Junagadh, what once used to be open farming land is now a school complex on twenty five acres of land, comprising of two school buildings, two college buildings and seven boarding houses, library, dining hall, dairy farm, staff quarters, doctors surgery etc. In June 2001, the school started with just under 400 children from ages of 10 to 16. The second year of school started in June 2002 with an intake of over 650 children and now there are over 1200 children studying there.

The children who study here are studying in a:

  • Clean, healthy and pollution free environment
  • Peaceful atmosphere
  • Lot of free space and greenery
  • Holistic education process

The school and boarding facilities have been built with the understanding that these facilities are for the real needy children, many of them orphans who have been disadvantaged from a very young age. Priority is given to these children.Their fees are sponsored by donors and well-wishers.

Some factual information:

  • This is a mixed caste school. There are children from 26 different communities like Rabari, Charan, Koli, Muslim, Patel, Jain etc.) While the school is open to all, preference is given to students who are poor from the local area around Chaparda and the many villages surrounding the school. The local community consists mainly of farmers, who have little education themselves and struggle to survive on a minimal income (around 20,000 rupees per year which is about £ 270).
  • The school is based on Gujarati medium – all subjects are taught in Gujarati. English is a subject which is taught once or twice a week. This is a weakness which has been recognised by the Trustees and BEHT. Initially BEHT addressed it by sending volunteer students from UK to spend some time in the school to teach English. This had a limited success as the volunteers could only spend few weeks or couple of months there and could not give the continuity it needed. (See experiences of students who have been there – Aarti Gudka’s, Ravi Shah’s, Aarti Mistry’s, Veeral Dhanani’s) In 2011, BEHT has embarked on another spoken English program to address this problem. This information will be updated as and when it becomes available.
  • The school provides a good traditional education and has a strong cultural ethos.
  • The syllabus followed for all subjects is set by the Gujarat State Government and teachers are expected to follow set text books for each subject in each age group. Internal assessment by the school is undertaken regularly and written reports sent to parents twice every year. External examinations take place in Standard 10 (15 years olds) and Standard 12 (17 years olds). At the end of Standard 10, students take Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations and at the end of Standard 12 they take Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations. After HSC, students can go onto college to take degree and other courses, or follow other routes.
  • The School has an excellent science department. In fact it has been recognised by the local District Government and has been made into a centre of science for the whole district. The District Government has given a financial grant and posted one of its workers in the school. His job is to go to all the schools in this District to raise the standard of science teaching. Regularly, he holds seminars for science teacher training for schools in the district at this school.
  • The school also has a good computer department. Currently it has 40 workstations and all the children get to use them.
  • The school day starts at 5:30AM. After a quick wash, the boys go outside to do exercises followed by breakfast after which the school starts. Younger children go to sleep by 9.30pm. Older students work till late, sometimes till midnight.
  • There 32 members of staff all of whom are graduates or have appropriate educational or occupational qualifications and experience and almost all of them live in the school compound and are well looked after. The majority of the teachers are male (72%). Overall, the teaching staff are young and enthusiastic. Their monthly salaries range from Rs 3000 – 5000.
  • The management of the hostel and dining arrangements is organised separately from the school.
  • The school has a House system for pastoral care and sports activities. There are four houses for primary & secondary sections.
  • The school provides a wide range of extra-curricular activities, the most popular being, football, cricket, volleyball, Judo and Karate. The school is fortunate to have extensive playing fields which enable all students to participate in these activities. Other activities include debates, quizzes, drawing competitions, essay writing and educational trips to local places.

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