The first English-medium school in Kasarwadi, partially funded by Rekha, is ready for inauguration. The veteran actor has played a key role in setting up the school in Kasarwadi area, which has only Marathi-medium schools forcing local children to go to Pimpri and nearby areas. The school building has come up on two acres of land in the same premises where the old building was built more than 40 years ago.
The construction cost was estimated to be Rs 13.71 crore, out of which Rekha had promised Rs 3 crore from her MPLAD fund. “So far, she has paid Rs 2.25 crore. Now, we will send her details about the project competition and hope to get the balance amount,” said Dhananjay Gawli, deputy engineer of PCMC.
When asked how Rekha got involved with a school project in Pimpri-Chinchwad, local corporator Shyam Lande said, “Rekha has been involved with school projects in the PMC area. She has funded a school project in PCMC area before as well. Armed with this knowledge, we approached her and she readily agreed to fund the English-medium school in Kasarwadi area,” he said.
Lande said Rekha w;as receiving timely updates about the project. “Pune district collectorate as well as Mumbai collectorate are involved with the project,” he added.
The English-medium school will be run by Akansha Foundation of Thermax Ltd. It has tied up with the PCMC. While the PCMC will provide infrastructure, the foundation undertake teaching responsibility, including teachers and their salaries. The foundation is already running a school up to Class VI. Every year, one class will be extended. “In next four years, students will be admitted up to Class X,” Lande said.
Officials from the PCMC said the school was equipped with modern technology. “Every classroom has been fitted up with CCTV cameras and the control room will be in the principal’s cabin,” Gawli said, adding that there were 41 classrooms.
“There are separate toilet blocks on each floor for girls and boys. This is the first-of-its-kind facility in any PCMC school,” Lande said.
“For kindergarten students, the play area is within the building premises,” Gawli said. The building has separate staff rooms, conference room, assembly hall, computer room, a well-stocked library and a well-equipped lab.
Gawli also said the building was constructed in a span of 18 months. “It was delayed by six months due to Covid restrictions,” he said.
Lande said the old building structure will be demolished and converted into a playground. “At present, the playground is a problem due to non-availability of space. Once the new building is inaugurated, the old structure will be demolished and converted into a playground. Besides the English-medium school, Marathi-medium schools will also be accommodated in the same premises,” he added.
Admissions will be conducted through draw of lots. “The school is exclusively meant for Kasarwadi students. A draw of lots is held every year to pick the required number of students. Each local corporator gets five seats. However, we have done away with the system. There will be no political interference,” he said.
Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar said, “The school building is ready, but its inauguration will be done after the model code of conduct for council polls is lifted. We will decide in the second week of December… Akansha Foundation runs the school. Rekha has provided funds for the school building.”
Jayshree Marale, a resident of Kasarwadi and former principal of a civic school, said, “This will be the first English-medium school in Kasarwadi. It is a long-pending development for local residents, whose children have been going to other suburbs for 50 years now. It will be our moment of pride. The building is a grand structure, which will lift the image of the suburb.”
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