No timetable at ‘Gurukulam’ — A school where students study what they want, when they want
What started off as an open-air classroom under a tree for five students in Kanpur, is now a school that has 150 students.
Ambika Tripathi 21 July 2023 11:10 AM GMT
Neha Rajput, a 15-year-old student of class 10 at Gurukulam School in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh would be the envy of class ten students in other schools.
“I don’t have to follow any timetable and I can pick and choose the subjects I want to study,” Rajput told Gaon Connection.
Gurukulam, which has classes one to 10, was founded by 24-year-old Uddeshya Sachan in 2019, and he wanted to make the school learning interesting and interactive for its students.
“I started off with a marker and a whiteboard under a tree with five students but soon my teaching got popular and today I have a building for my school,” Sachan told Gaon Connection.
“When I was a child studying at school, my mother was sick and my father, who was a tailor, couldn’t afford to pay my fees and I was expelled from school. I could never forget that,” Sachan, who graduated in Philosophy from University of Lucknow, added.
He said he still remembered vividly the unpleasant negativity and trauma he felt at the school when he was there.
“I believe that no child in this world can study a subject in the fixed hours in a schedule. A child’s mind is very effervescent and it is constantly intrigued by multiple concepts and observations. Such a mind will function at its best when it has the choice to do what it wants to do at a given time,” Sachan explained the philosophy of Gurukulam.
“The previous school I was at was tough. I didn’t like the strict teacher there. Now, that I am allowed to study at my own time and pace, I understand things with far more clarity. I am not shy of asking questions,” Priya Sahni, another student of class 10 at Gurukulam told Gaon Connection.
Apart from Sachan, there are three more teachers at Gurukulam. The students come from economically challenged homes and they are not charged a fee. The funding of the school is raised from charitable donations.
‘COVID-19 lockdown was a big challenge’
Just when the school that began under a tree began to see an increase in enrolment, the lockdown was imposed.
“It was a demoralising experience. I thought all my hard work was wasted and students would fall out of the habit of studying,” Sachan recalled. But, once the lockdown was lifted, he got in touch with his students and the number of them rose from five to seventy. “Today we have 150 students,” he said proudly. .
Social media was a large part of his school gaining fame and generous public support and donations helped the school to keep running. Actor R Madhavan gave a boost to the school’s popularity when he shared Sachan’s video on Instagram.
“We were very happy. Our video went viral. People noticed our work and many donors came forward to provide financial support. It made me realise the power of social media,” Sachan said.
For Sachan, being able to extend the fruits of education to students belonging to the underprivileged sections of the society is the biggest motivator.