I'puram: This resident-run school for poor kids has a DPS-like syllabus!
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I'puram: This resident-run school for poor kids has a DPS-like syllabus!

Asmee Foundation, a two-room accommodation just a few hundred metres from DPS Indirapuram, imparts free basic education to 40 children from the nearby Kanauni village. 

I'puram: This resident-run school for poor kids has a DPS-like syllabus! Deepali Sharma with the children

A few hundred metres from DPS Indirapuram, a two-room accommodation comes alive every morning with the sound of children trying to recite rhymes, memorise tables, pronounce alphabets. It’s a school of sorts, which imparts free basic education to a motley crew of 40 children from nearby Kanauni village.

These are children of wage workers who cannot afford to send their children to private schools, or are unhappy with education prevalent in the government-run primary schools in the area.

Asmee Foundation, as the school is known, first started as a tuition class for children of maids working in Princess Park society. As the class grew in strength, the founding teachers decided to include more students from the underprivileged households of the nearby village.

They then shifted their battleground to the two-room accommodation in Kanauni in October this year.



The basic cost of running the school, including a room rent of Rs 5,000 is shared by the teachers. Stationery items and uniforms, too, are donated by the teachers themselves.

Asmee Foundation is not just some amateurish classroom for underprivileged children, claim the teachers. “We have maintained our course structure at par with the structure of DPS Indirapuram. We have also collected used books from the school management,” explained Bharti Garg, one of the founding teachers from Princess Park.

With 11 full-time teachers and two part-timers, the school boasts of a pupil-to-teacher ratio (PTR) of over 4:1. The Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009, recommends a PTR of 30:1 for primary and 35:1 for upper primary levels in all schools.

Garg, a Phd holder in Biotechnology, quit her job to take care of her family. And like her, most of the teachers here are qualified housewives, who have either left their jobs for family or are retired professionals.


The teachers of Asmee Foundation


The basic subjects taught at the school include English, Hindi, mathematics, drawing and environmental science. “We also impart education on other important issues, such as sanitation and cleanliness. Just like other schools, our classes too start with an assembly, the national anthem and a morning prayer,” said Rekha Majithia, a retired teacher from DAV Public School Sahibabad, and a resident of Angel Mercury society.

Assessments of students happen through timely tests and examinations. The children also celebrate festivals here and go out with their teachers to get some outdoor fun. To instil a sense of competition, gifts are given out to students who perform well. “This also creates a lot excitement and enthusiasm among these little ones,” Majithia added.

Classes are of 40 minutes each, and the school starts sharp at 9.45 am and continues till 1.15 pm.  Teachers come and go according to the time-table. “We do not have a staff room yet and, at times, the teachers do not even meet each other for days,” added Deepali Sharma from Princess Park, who used to impart JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) coaching. “But despite having no monetary and other benefits, this work gives me immense joy. The satisfaction I get from teaching here is better than all my previous jobs.”

The children are prepared for entrance tests and interviews for private schools, which admit underprivileged children under the RTE Act. The teachers here have also started initiatives to develop employable skills among young boys and girls. These skills include spoken English, office management for boys, stitching and mehendi art for girls.

“After running the school for some time, we realised that it is also necessary to impart skills for earning a livelihood. The children of labourers, if not taught to earn for themselves, will eventually turn into labourers — or will take to some anti-social lifestyle. By imparting these skills, a few can easily earn around Rs 15,000-17,000 a month,” Garg added.