Educating

67,000

children

In

618

free schools

Across

20 states

in India

Girls to boys ratio of

48:52

Better than the national average

Student retention rate of

90%

Much higher than the national average of 30%

Trained

1100

teachers so far

Overview

Our vision for the education sector in India is to provide value-based holistic education in a stress-free environment to deserving children from vulnerable communities. Over the last three decades, The Art of Living has successfully executed educational projects with the objective of integrating values into the education system and providing livelihood options and a safe future for children. The Art of Living today operates 618 free schools catering to almost 67,000 children across 20 states in India. Our free schools fall under the following categories:

  • rural schools
  • tribal schools
  • slum schools
  • schools for disaster victims

“My school is the only pillar of hope for my sister, brother and me. I know education will help us. It will give our mother and all the poor people in our tribal village a better life.” - Geeta, a student from one of our tribal schools. She is one of the best-performing students. She says that her motivation stems from her desire to help her single mother, who is currently struggling to raise three young kids.

During the course of building and running these schools, The Art of Living teams have encountered and addressed innumerable challenges. We have learned that teaching our children is perhaps the easier process in the entire cycle. Influencing the mindset of the surrounding community and helping them to see the value of education is significantly more challenging and this has been the unique value that the Art of Living has brought into the space of value-based education. The tangible impact of this is that today 90 percent of our students stay in the school against a national average of 37 percent.

Challenges

40 percent of the Indian population is under the age of 18. On April 1, 2010, India joined the league of 135 countries that have made education a fundamental right of every child. Implementing the Right to Education and providing education to nearly 500 million people in India is a daunting task. The Art of Living shares this challenge with the government and other agencies in bringing education to the most deserving children and youth in the country.

It is estimated that nearly 96 percent of children start primary education in India. Of those who start, only 72 percent finish class V, only 57 percent finish class VIII and barely 37 percent end up finishing class X.

Some of our challenges include the following:

  • Parents do not enroll their children in schools because of various socio-economic factors
  • Children drop out after attending school for a while because of domestic pressures
  • Student performance decreases with time as they encounter personal, social and economic problems
  • Teachers may quit for better opportunities
  • Lack of qualified teachers for senior classes

We have found innovative solutions to overcome these challenges. Our risk mitigation strategy involves taking a holistic approach that involves the children, their parents, the community and the teachers.

Strategy

We have a well-defined strategy for our education projects that has been developed and refined with time. This strategy is built on three pillars:

  • Providing free education: The children targeted for these schools come from a background of abject poverty and most of them are first generation learners. The Art of Living aims to provide free and value-based education to children from vulnerable sections while addressing the social, economic and cultural barriers that keep children away from school.
  • Engaging with the community: Even before the children are taught, their parents and elders have to be sensitized to the importance of education. The Art of Living proactively reaches out to community influencers to ensure that the children stay in school. School teachers are chosen from the community and are trained appropriately to ensure that the bond with the community is strong. This helps to keep the dropout rate low.
  • Value-based education: A major focus of our education strategy is to combine formal education with life skills that include building the child’s confidence, leadership, and interpersonal skills and developing spiritual tools through meditation techniques and a foundation of human values. The Art of Living schools nurture a child holistically. Family values are strengthened, and progressive attitudes strengthen social and cultural barriers.

Impact

As the result of our sustained efforts in this sector, The Art of Living today operates 618 free schools catering to almost 67,000 children in tribal, rural areas and urban slums across 20 states in India. Highlights of these schools include:

  • Many of these schools are in areas where there are no government schools
  • Most of the children are first generation learners
  • These schools successfully deliver a holistic curriculum that is a balance of modern education and ancient wisdom
  • The gender ratio in these schools is 48 girls: 52 boys which is significantly higher than the national average
  • 90% of our students stay in the school against a national average of 37%
  • We have trained about 1100 teachers so far

Please reach out to us to know more about our projects in the education sector and how you can partner with us to bring change.

Contact Us

India office

Phone: +91 80 67612300​
Fax :+91 80 2843 2833
Email: secretariat@artofliving.org 
Address: Office of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The Art of Living International Center, 21st KM, Kanakapura Road, Udaypura, Bangalore South, Karnataka - 560082, India

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A multi-faceted approach to social initiatives has saved many lives, lit many smiles, and helped communities experience progress. Every piece of service work is created with dedicated analysis, thoughtful care - keeping humaneness in the forefront. Progressive change and sustainable impact happen when the affected are supported at every step of their journey. Walk with us as we walk with others. And together let’s build hope for every member of our global family.