Alternative School

2005 – 2011

Shikshamitra began as an experimental upper primary-middle school for first generation school goers. The school project was built under Swanirvar, an NGO founded in 1990 and aimed at establishing a comprehensive rural development program in the North 24 Parganas district. For six years, Shikshamitra school offered children a supportive, artistic, and magically creative environment where they could discover their personal strengths and weaknesses, explore and develop their individuality, and grow in confidence and understanding.

One of Shikshamitra’s main goals was the development of a more diversified secondary curriculum that works to redefine what a school should look like and what should happen within the system. We tried to experiment with the alternatives we formulated hoping that our ideas, materials, and methods for schooling and working with children would help their innate talents to emerge and be a model for future school systems.

As language is imperative to any kind of learning, students were taught Bangla and English to create the platform for expressing their creativity. Supplementing the language lessons were Film, Art (clay, craft, dance, theater, and music), Social Education (History, Geography, Civics), EVS and Cooking, Math, Science and Health Studies. Use of the library was made an integral part of the learning process while participation in various open discussions helped to open young minds. Activities like excursions and observation sessions within the locality developed the knowledge and understanding of the children with regard to the world at large and their role in it.
In 2011, we made the decision to close Shikshamitra School and shift the focus of our work to developing teacher training programs and supplementary content and services designed to improve children’s learning outcomes. The organization wanted to share its innovative teaching-learning processes to a much wider audience, and began to develop a diversified, enjoyable training program with this goal.

We thank the following for their support and cooperation in so many ways

  • Aid Ind Lgo
  • Asha Lgo
  • Her Future Lgo
  • Indie Lgo
  • Kol Seeds Lgo
  • Wipro Lgo