A village school in Maharashtra was on Thursday named one of three finalists in the inaugural US$250,000 World’s Best School Awards, launched in the UK to celebrate schools around the world for their contribution to societal progress . The school has created a cultural dynamic centered on close ties within the community.
PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel, in Pune, will now advance to the public advisory voting round of the award in the community collaboration category, with the winner presented during World Education Week next month.
The school, in a remote village in Pune district, is run as a public private partnership between the NGO Akanksha Foundation and the local government, with most of its students coming from low-income families.
“PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel also works with doctors, grocers and local religious leaders to help create programs that help parents in financial need,” said T4 Education, the UK-based digital media platform that to found the award at the beginning of the year.
“The school launched a program of free health check-ups in the community and ‘Master Chef’ style classes were launched to teach families how to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Students are also part of a daily fruit consumption initiative that keeps them on track for healthy eating and each week they have a set meal plan. The impact has carried over into their home lives as parents have started following the same nutrition plan,” he added.
The awards, founded in partnership with Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, Templeton World Charity Foundation, Lemann Foundation, D2L, Mellby Gård and Universidad Camilo José Cela, aim to share the best practices of schools that are transforming the people’s lives their students and making a real difference to their communities.
The five World’s Best Schools Awards are designed in the categories of community collaboration, environmental action, innovation, overcoming adversity and supporting healthy living and the finalists have been narrowed down from thousands of entries by an academy world court of distinguished leaders.
“Teachers everywhere will be inspired by the example of this outstanding Indian school,” said Vikas Pota, founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Awards.
“The awards for the best school in the world reveal the experience of inspiring schools from all corners of the world. It is time for governments everywhere to hear their voices,” he said.
If PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel were to win the World’s Best School Award for Community Collaboration, it plans to donate part of the prize money to the Akanksha Foundation because of its contribution to running the school. Funds would also be distributed to other schools that collaborate with the foundation.
Prizes of US$250,000 will be divided equally among the five prize winners, each receiving a prize of US$50,000.
The 50 schools shortlisted for the five awards will share their best practices during World Education Week events in October and through school transformation tools.