A village school in Maharashtra on Thursday was unveiled as one of the three finalists for the inaugural USD 250,000 World’s Best School Prizes, launched in the UK to celebrate schools worldwide for their contribution to society’s progress. The school has created a cultural dynamic centred on close ties within the community.
PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel, in Pune, will now progress to the public advisory vote round of the prize in the Community Collaboration category, with the winner to be awarded during World Education Week next month.
The school, in a remote village in Pune district, is run as a public private partnership between NGO Akanksha Foundation and local government, with most of its students from low-income families.
“PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel also works with local doctors, grocers and religious leaders to help create programmes that help parents in financial need,” said T4 Education – the UK-headquartered digital media platform which founded the prize earlier this year.
“The school launched a programme of free medical check-ups in the community and ‘Master Chef’ style classes were launched that taught families about how to have a healthy and balanced diet. Students are also part of a daily fruit eating initiative that keeps them on track for healthy eating and every week they have a set meal plan. The impact has trickled into their home lives as parents have started to follow the same nutrition plan,” it added.
The prizes, founded in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, Templeton World Charity Foundation, the Lemann Foundation, D2L, Mellby Gård, and Universidad Camilo José Cela, are aimed at sharing the best practices of schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities.
The five World’s Best School Prizes are designed across the categories of Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives and the finalists have been whittled down from thousands of entries by a worldwide Judging Academy 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 Prizes.
“The World’s Best School Prizes surface the expertise of inspirational schools from every corner of the globe. It’s time for governments everywhere to listen to their voices,” he said.
If PCMC English Medium School, Bopkhel were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration, it has plans to donate some of the prize money to the Akanksha Foundation due to their contribution towards the management of the school. The funds would also be distributed towards other schools that work with the foundation.
The prize money of USD 250,000 will be shared equally among the winners of the five prizes, with each receiving an award of USD 50,000.
All 50 shortlisted schools across the five prizes will share their best practices during events at World Education Week in October and through School Transformation Toolkits.