This school in Mysuru welcomes only ‘out of system children’ and it is successful
Schools for children, not children for schools.
About 15km from Mysuru, in Kenchalagudu village, there is a school called Kaliyuva Mane. But, this school doesn’t fall in the category of conventional group of schools. Kaliyuva Mane is a school for the ‘out of system children’. This school welcomes children from underprivileged backgrounds, whose parents were ignorant about the importance of education, who have some intellectual disabilities, who were school dropouts or child labourers, and many more.
In Kannada, Kaliyuva Mane means ‘home for learning’. Children are not assigned classes when they enter the school for the first time. They are free to roam around the campus and do whatever they want and teachers observe them. After assessing the academic level of the children, the curriculum is designed based on the individual needs.
There is a 12-year-old girl who stays in a slum. She used to go to a government school, but had to drop out because her family could not afford her education. She then started working as a child labourer and continued to do so for about two years to help her mother earn a living. After some time, an organization approached her and wanted to help her study again. But where are the schools for children like her who have to start with the very basics? She will not be able to understand anything if sent to a classroom full of children her age. We call such students ‘out of system children’, says Ananth Kumar, the founder of Kaliyuva Mane.
Children who come for admission are interviewed and preference is given to the children belonging to first generation BPL families from a rural setting and to the Children below 12 years of age. Neither children nor their parents need to mention their caste or religion at the time of admission.
Kaliyuva Mane is a free quasi-residential experimental school. About 35 kids live in the school campus and others are day scholars. Some teachers work voluntarily, others are salaried employees. The school is Kannada medium and the subjects included are Kannada, English, math, science, and social studies, other than classes on basic hygiene, moral values, etc. There is one teacher for every 10 children.
An engineer by qualification, Ananth founded the Divya Deepa Charitable Trust, along with some of his friends to run the school. And Kaliyuva Mane was finally set up in 2005 with just 14 children. Today, the school is working with 114 children, four of whom are in college now.