Among India’s unique budget private schools which have emerged as alternatives to dysfunctional government schools, MIS, ranked India’s #1 BPS for three years (2015-17) by EducationWorld, has emerged as a model institution, writes Autar Nehru
Established in 2002 to provide affordably-priced English-medium education to children of working-class parents living in the ‘regularised unauthorised’ housing colonies of West Delhi, during the past two decades Muni International School (MIS) has developed into the country’s role model budget private school (BPS). Promoted by former teachers and idealist entrepreneurs as alternatives to dysfunctional government schools defined by crumbling buildings, chronic teacher truancy, English language aversion and rock-bottom learning outcomes, the number of BPS countrywide has ballooned to an estimated 400,000 with a massive enrolment of 60 million children.
In this category of primary-secondaries fashioned after private English-medium schools, MIS has emerged as a model institution. In the annual EducationWorld India School Rankings (EWISR) which rank BPS separately inter se, MIS was ranked #1 for three years (2015-2017). In the latest EWISR 2020-21, MIS is ranked #2 in India and #1 in Delhi NCR.
Credit for nurturing MIS into the country’s foremost BPS is unanimously given to its visionary and can-do founder-director Ashok Thakur, a former Indian Army infantryman (1984-1992) who after early retirement promoted MIS with his life savings of Rs.1.40 lakh and a first batch of 26 children.
“The prime objectives of MIS are to develop the latent potential of each child and provide English-medium primary-secondary education to children of working-class households and enable them to break out of the cycle of poverty and illiteracy. During the past 18 years since MIS was founded, we have demonstrated that good quality education can be provided to the poor at prices they can afford. By reviving India’s ancient tradition of peer-to-peer learning, we have been able to improve children’s learning outcomes dramatically. In MIS, we believe that grand buildings and infrastructure and highly qualified teachers are not necessary to provide quality K-X education,” says Thakur.
According to Thakur, the school’s peer learning pedagogy with teachers discharging the role of facilitators, has recorded extraordinary academic results from children, the majority of them first generation learners with negligible academic support at home. In the academic year 2019, all MIS students who wrote the class X exam of the Central Board of Secondary Education cleared the testing exams of the country’s largest pan-India schools board with an average score of 75 percent. Uniquely in 2013, MIS was selected by the Japanese embassy in New Delhi for a student exchange programme with schools in Japan. Moreover in 2015, the US-based Ashoka Foundation (estb.1980) conferred its Changemaker School encomium on MIS.
“Our peer-learning system encourages children to learn collaboratively, giving and receiving feedback and continuously measure each other’s progress. This is supplemented by our IPDS (inherent potential discovery system), under which students are periodically tested by their teachers who provide supplementary support and remedial education if required,” explains Thakur.
Another distinguishing feature of the MIS curriculum is that every student has to compulsorily learn one of five foreign languages — German, Japanese, French, Spanish and Arabic. “To prepare children for the new globalised world, every student has to learn, speak, read and write at least one of the five foreign languages we offer,” says Thakur.
Like most BPS, infrastructure and facilities are modest. Sited on a 7,000 sq. ft campus area, the school’s ground plus three-storey building houses 24 classrooms, a science lab and a library with 9,000 print volumes. In addition, every class has its own age-appropriate library. Although the school doesn’t have a large enough playground for field sports, it is mandatory that students sign up for indoor sports such as judo, karate, wrestling and boxing, as also for one co-curricular activity such as music, drawing, painting, debate or public speaking.
Moreover despite its low fees (Rs.1,200-2,000 per month), the school management has invested generously in providing digital teaching-learning facilities. Since 2016, it has been providing computer tabs to students of class V onwards, now replaced with laptops.
Unsurprisingly given this push towards digitisation over the past quinquennium, MIS seamlessly transitioned to online classes after education institutions were ordered to shut down in March 2020, to safeguard children against the Covid-19 contagion.
The spectacular success of MIS in providing low-priced high quality K-X education has drawn the attention of several state governments struggling to improve dismal learning outcomes in their schools. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation recently invited MIS to implement its model in three schools under its School Quality Enhancement Program. Moreover, the Gujarat state government has appointed Thakur a consultant to implement the MIS model in government schools. Simultaneously, Thakur has franchised the MIS blueprint to a dozen BPS schools countrywide.
“My mission is to share our unique and successful education model with government as well as BPS to empower them to provide affordable technology-enabled education to the children of India. I am convinced that they are eager to learn and have high potential,” says Thakur, an education missionary who has gifted the nation with a proven new primary-secondary learning model.
Admission & Fees
MIS is a CBSE-affiliated K-class X school. Admission applications are available for admission into nursery to class VI in November/December.
Tuition fees (per month): Rs.1,200-2,000
For further information: email [email protected] or call 7838112789.
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