VidyaGyan, Bulandshahr is a coeducational residential school affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi. Established in 2009 by the Shiv Nadar Foundation (SNF), VidyaGyan, Bulandshahr is a school for the underprivileged with state-of-the-art residential campus that addresses social imbalances and endeavours to nurture and create leaders to inspire and become role models for their families, communities and the society at large.
VidyaGyan was established to bridge the urban-rural divide by developing leaders from the economically underprivileged communities of rural India, using 21st century learning and development techniques.
VidyaGyan aims to provide the opportunities of a world-class leadership academy to the economically backward students of rural India and transform their lives using high quality school education. VidyaGyan brings students from rural India, who are potentially high achievers, particularly ones who lack the advantage of exposure to a competitive environment, at par with their urban counterparts.
The school currently has 39 faculty members and over 763 students.
The sprawling 20 acre VidyaGyan, Bulandshahr campus was designed by one of the finest architects, Mr. C.R. Narayanrao. The school building houses 30 classrooms and the campus also houses a hostel for 700 students, a language lab, a computer lab, a math lab, a library, an amphitheatre (seating 800), an auditorium, an athletic track, a football field, a skating rink and indoor sports facilities. An 8-acre sports complex stands next to the school campus. This includes a cricket ground and other outdoor sports facilities.
VidyaGyan offers an inspiring and stimulating learning environment and classroom training is supplemented with exposure to an urban schooling environment. Students are trained in social responsibility.
There is a focus on English proficiency from class VIII, with intensive remedial inputs to shift from Hindi to English-based curriculum in the initial years. Students are taught social and communication skills, leadership skills, proficiency in computers, excellence in diverse areas including sports, music, dance and art, preparation for competitive public examinations and urban exposure through inter-school tours and competitions.
Students are encouraged to engage in art and craft, life skills, literary skills and cultural activities. They also participate in social service initiatives which have made a strong impact on the community around them.
They are also coached in athletics, football, skating, cricket, table tennis, carrom and chess.
VidyaGyan offers a unique search admission process that handpicks the best students from a total pool of almost 200,000 children, who appear for the first round of tests. One student is selected for induction out of every 500 students who apply, through a rigorous, three-part selection process, which ensures that the selected students constitute the top-of-the-bottom-of-the-pyramid.
Student Selection Process
Students from rural, low income families are considered, i.e., parent’s income is less than Rs 1,00,000 (approx. US$ 1800 per annum). Families are required to present a valid income certificate.
The selection process is based on the results of class V primary government school toppers and an entrance test administered by VidyaGyan.
Students are required to go through a preliminary and final test and the top 400 students are inducted into VidyaGyan after background verification.
There is no reservation policy for admissions at VidyaGyan, Bulandshahr. However, more than 40 percent students are girls, while 60 percent are from backward classes, 15 percent are Scheduled Castes and roughly 5-8 percent are Muslims.
VidyaGyan, Bulandshahr is a social initiative of the Shiv Nadar Foundation and does not levy fees.
The impact of VidyaGyan students on transforming the underprivileged communities of Uttar Pradesh is noteworthy. Students of the school have raised social awareness and spread the message to their families, communities and society.
Some of the areas where VidyaGyan has successfully brought about transformation are:
Drinking Water: Students realised that drinking water should be tasteless and colourless only after they arrived at VidyaGyan. This learning motivated them to design a low cost water filter to provide their families and societies with clean and hygienic drinking water.
Health: The students learnt that traditional cow dung/wood ovens used by their mothers and sisters for cooking purposes causes severe respiratory problems. To prevent such health hazards of the open oven, the students designed a new smokeless oven, now widely used for cooking in the villages.
Adult Literacy: Special initiatives are being undertaken to spread adult literacy.
Gender Equality: Most parts of rural India are still riddled with gender bias and inequalities. Rural initiatives to generate awareness about the importance of the girl child’s education are being regularly undertaken.
The school campus houses a hostel for 700 students with adequate facilities.
The hostel ensures timely nutritious meals and personal hygiene. Health and growth are regularly monitored. The other hostel facilities are special movie screenings, night preparation (academic and personal guidance by a dedicated teacher), group discussions of particular TV programmes or relevant articles and indoor games.