With school enrolment at an all-time high, India is close to achieving its goal of universal education. However, despite there being a significant improvement in access, even in the remotest parts of the country, there are many issues prevalent in the mainstream. These include high student to teacher ratios, prescriptive curriculums that are not supportive of individual student learning needs and a disconnect between theory and practice in formal teacher education. The result is disengagement in the classroom and ultimately poor student learning outcomes. This is especially detrimental in the case for under-served communities, who largely rely on mainstream schooling.
“For the Community, By the Community”
Muktangan was envisioned as an alternative model that aimed to bridge these prevalent gaps and disconnects in education by providing an inclusive, student-friendly, community based model of education within the mainstream system. Supported through the Paragon Charitable Trust in partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), the first Muktangan preschool was started in 2003 on the premises of a Municipal School in Worli, Mumbai. The original school began with 7 teachers sourced from local, under-served communities who transacted a developmentally appropriate preschool curriculum to 90 students from their own localities. The recognition of the success of the model by members of these same communities and the MCGM led to the Muktangan initiative being set up and run in six additional municipal schools in 2007.
Today, Muktangan has developed into a holistic model of Teacher and School Education; MERC, that is working with various state departments and NGO partners to provide integrated solutions to educational disconnects in both urban and rural settings. Simultaneously Muktangan runs a strong advocacy programme aimed at government policy makers to enable its learnings to be incorporated into the mainstream.