Change needs to come from within the school educational system in India.
Governmental and independent reports highlight many limitations in teacher and school education, indicated by high drop-out rates and poor learning. Schools discourage creativity and students are unable to relate classroom knowledge to their own lives.
An absence of alternative progressive models exists within the mainstream government system. Yet it is this very system that caters to 78% of the population (Elementary Education in India, NUEPA 2012). Muktangan, through a strong partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has created one such model within the current system.
Muktangan began in 2003 when its founder, Mrs. Elizabeth Mehta, trained 7 women from the local communities in a pre-school approach, developed from her experience working in schools and districts across India. The goal of Muktangan from the beginning was to develop alternative models of inclusive child-centred, community-based education within the mainstream school system, and then to seek partnerships to replicate the successes. Marginalized community members (mainly women) are developed into skilled, child-centred, inclusive teachers, who then teach their own community children. It is truly ‘Education for the Community, by the Community.’
The model is now successfully running in 7 Municipal Schools. Its growth has been both organic and rapid; clearly indicating that it is addressing a felt need. In 2012, having taken our original students up to the final secondary stage of their schooling, and having modularized our Teacher Education Programme into a 2-year course, Muktangan has now become a fully integrated Education Resource Centre, of which the school and the Teacher Education programmes (both pre and in-service) are integrated components.
With overwhelming support from the local community and the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Muktangan today is educating over 2700 economically deprived children and has developed and employed over 400 teachers.
Muktangan was started by and is the sole initiative of the Paragon Charitable Trust, a Registered Charitable Trust under the Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950, having registration no E-3305 (BOM) dated September 1966.