The municipal schools run by Thermax Foundation and Akanksha in Pune are revising popular notions about government schools. Year after year, K.C.Thackeray Vidya Niketan (KCT), with stellar results of its Class 10 students, have shown that given the right environment and stimulus, children from deprived backgrounds can perform as good as, or even better than their counterparts from privileged homes. The other four schools allied to the Foundation also have been shaping up very well.
Meet Mrunal and Namrata, students from these schools, who have gained admission at reputed international schools of learning.
Mrunal who studied in KCT from grade 3 to 10, after her school finals exam has been selected to study at the United World College (UWC). She is now doing her International Baccalaureate (11th and 12th Standard) at UWC, South East Asia in Singapore. She is studying dance, sports,science, English literature and language, among other subjects.
More than academics at school, Mrunal made her mark as a talented dancer and public speaker. The school gave her ample opportunity to display her talent and she was the lead dancer at its programmes. A gifted speaker, she honed her skills at school events, eventually winning the best speaker prize in 2015 at the St. Mary’s interschool debating competition.She represented her school at the Model United Nations Conference (2015) held in Symbiosis, Pune. Mrunal also played for her school in interschool volleyball and football tournaments.
Mrunal says her school does not limit students’ engagement with the world only to books, but nurtures them to think critically and develop the latent leaders in them. When Anu and Meher met her in Singapore, Mrunal told them that Akanksha’s training at the KCT School is on par with any other international school.
At UWC, she choreographed a Bhangra dance performance withfriends from various nations. The education programme there includes community work once a week and outdoor group activity entirely planned and arranged by students. With her class mates, she has already trekked in Vietnam. “It is great learning experience which made me more independent and thoughtful,” Mrunal says.
Namrata Khanvilkar has just begun her graduation course this August at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, USA. A student of the Acharya Vinobha Bhave Municipal School (AVBMS) in 2015, she did her International Baccalaureate at the United World College in Armeniain 2017. While studying there, she got a full scholarship to pursue her studies in the US. She is now a student of biochemistry there.
Reflecting on her own life, Namrata believes in the power of education to make changes in the lives of people. She plans to return to India after her studies and work with schoolchildren. She would also like to fund at least one child’s education as soon as possible.
Both Namrata and Mrunal had parents who believed in educating their daughters. They stood by the dreams of their children.