The Birth of an Idea

Vikramshila first started its work in 1989, when four school teachers working with the privileged children, were driven by the desire to do something meaningful for the children who were less fortunate. The four friends found that, education, instead of being a bridge was acting as a wedge to accentuate the chasm between the privileged and the underprivileged. The poor had lost faith in education – there were not enough schools, and the existing schools serving them were of abysmal quality.
They decided to DO something – build up models of excellence in the community and show how education could be meaningful, relevant and attractive – a place that would link life and learning, a place where illiterate parents could also participate, a place where all their aspirations would find wings, a place that would nurture their innate potential
This resolve led to the idea taking shape in the form of resource organization called Vikramshila, a name inspired from the historical institution par excellence in education. Vikramshila has since 1989, brought to existence many such schools for organizations working at the grassroots level. Parents started wondering – if schools could be like this, why were things so different in government schools? Why were they always told that education was not meant for them and their children?
The founders of Vikramshila saw immense opportunities in their newly awakened consciousness. They realized that it was not enough to have little islands of excellence amidst a sea of darkness. This marked the second phase of their journey – to leverage ground level success to bring larger changes. The models of excellence created by would also serve as a means for advocating with the government to improve their delivery system. Thus Vikramshila began dialoguing with government officials at different levels. The government teachers were invited to visit our schools. Some of them responded with hostility, but most of them were open and friendly. Gradually, our schools became resource schools for the vicinity, and their teachers became the mentors. We were successful in creating a community of learners.

The operational strategy of Vikramshila is simple – ‘keeping in heart the best interest of the child’. From the very beginning, then, children have been the guiding force of all that Vikramshila says and does.


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