Vidya Bhawan Society office at UdaipurPrime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addresses Diamond Jubilee Function in Vidya Bhawan.Student's Union takes Oath of Office.Listening Intently!Seminar on Clean Udaipur in December 2014

The Idea of Vidya Bhawan

The inspiration of Vidya Bhawan came from Baden Powell’s Boy Scout Movement and Dr. Mohan Sinha Mehta’s association with this idea; which he termed as “simple and natural”. The Gandhian idea of Buniyadi Taleem (Basic Education) blended into it, which has formulated a unique experience of education called Vidya Bhawan.

The idea of Vidya Bhawan aimed at inculcating in its pupil the understanding and practice of responsible citizenship; and to bring about social transformation through education for an open-minded, just and equitable society.

In May 1930, Dr. Mehta had taken his Rovers for annual hike to Kashmir. The Rover Crew was divided into four patrols. On one rainy day at Gulmarg, the Education Patrol met and developed the idea of a new type of school-- its special methods and features. In the same year Dr. Mehta called Shri Kalu Lal Shrimali and Shri Kesari Lal Bordia, fellow scout troopers, to put this idea to practice.

A public meeting was convened in December 1930 and a Governing Body was set up. On the morning of 16th January 1931, the foundation stone of the building of Vidya Bhawan School was laid by Sir Sukh Deo Prasad, the then Prime Minister of Mewar State. After much persuasion by Dr. Mehta, the Mewar State had given 4 acres of barren land to Vidya Bhawan.
At 7 O’clock, on the morning of Tuesday, 21st July 1931, Vidya Bhawan was ushered into the world!

Founder Members of Vidya Bhawan Society

As per the Constitution of Vidya Bhawan Society, at the time of registration in 1941 under the Society's Registration Act No.VII of 1941, the Founder Members were as follows:
1 Dr. Mohan Sinha Mehta M.A., Ph.D., L.L.B., Bar-at-Law, Udaipur.
2 Mr. K.L. Shrimali M.A., B.T., Udaipur.
3 The Hon'ble Pt. Hriday Nath Kunzru LL.D., Allahabad.
4 Sir Sirey Mal Bapna Kt., C.I.E., B.A., B.Sc., LL.B., Ajmer.
5 Diwan Bahadur Sir T. Vijayaraghavacharya K.B.E., Udaipur.
6 Pandit Rameshwar Dayal U.P.
7 Dr. Zakir Hussain Delhi.
8 Mr. F.G. Pearce Gwalior.
9 Seth Bhagirathji Kanoria Calcutta.
10 Rao Bahadur Thakur Raj Singhji Bedla.
11 Prof. K.L. Bordia M.A., Indore, C.I.
12 Kr. Chandra Singh Mehta Udaipur.
13 Rajadhiraj Amar Singhji of Banera
14 Mr. Tayab Ali Bar-at-Law, Udaipur.
15 Raja Kalyan Singhji Bhinai (Ajmer-Merwara)

What has been Unique about Vidya Bhawan ?

Vidya Bhawan aimed at greater social mixing and co-education. Some distinctive features were as follows :
Co-education, Non-sectarian, Broad-minded and Global outlook
Vidya Bhawan began as a co-educational school at a time when discrimination against girls and caste distinctions were the norms of the day. The activities and outlook of the school and the people involved were highly egalitarian and forward looking.
Whole day school
Although Vidya Bhawan was only partially a boarding school, it was a firm decision to make Vidya Bhawan a whole-day-school, that is, children stayed in the school from morning till dusk. They had their meals together to overcome the worst dividing factor between castes.
Group system
Group was the family where general development of children was promoted. The group teacher developed an intimate relationship with each child, so they were able to share their thoughts and problems without inhibitions. Groups also organised different activities, such as parents' meetings, social functions, camps, hikes and tournaments.
Chhatra Mandal and Shala Panchayat
The children develop a large measure of self-reliance and some experience in self-government through the Chhatra Mandal (The Students' Parliament or General body) and the Shala Panchayat (Executive Body of Elected Student Representatives).
Technical Section
The school had a fully equipped and functional technical section where children learnt metal work, carpentry, knitting and tailoring etc.
Vanshala (Open Air Session)
10 to 15 days outdoor camp was organized in a natural location. The children were divided into different subject groups called Shrenis, where they worked and learned together different aspects of the region and the community.It was called Vanshala or Open Air Session. An exhibition of the work done and a pageant were organized on the final day.
Anniversary Project
A significant experiment was the Anniversary Project in which a theme was chosen and students chose Shrenis (subject groups) such as literature and culture, social studies, geography, science, art and crafts etc. For a fortnight, Shreni-work was done on the theme. The Project culminated in a pageant at the Anniversary Function and the work done during this period was presented in an exhibition.
Vast playgrounds were used separately for different sections of the school. The school developed a well equipped Gymnasium. Courts were made for indoor and outdoor games. Students and teams of Vidya Bhawan played at state and national levels.
Under the Shramdaan (labour service scheme) each pupil was required to put in a minimum amount of physical labour of some sort. This manual work was often a part of some constructive activity or social service. It helped develop a sense of pride and instill dignity of labour.
The school can boast of very well equipped laboratories of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geography.
Nursery School
The section of the youngest children was separated from the Junior School. It had its own staff and necessary equipment in order to provide a suitable atmosphere for the children of pre-school age. The school was designed on the educational principles propounded by Madam Maria Montessori.

Expanding the Area and Scope of Education

Vidya Bhawan expanded its area and scope of work in education by opening schools based on the principles of basic education and to cater to the needs of the tribal area; colleges for teachers’ training and higher and technical education; institutions for developmental work such as KVK, center for training of Anganwadi workers, institute for capacity building of elected representatives of Panchayati Raj; a resource center on education and a nature education and interpretation centre. A brief about these Institutions is as follows:
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