Plastics as Fees for Quality Education at Akshar School

By Abhismita Deka

The exceptional school located in Guwahati’s Pamohi is not just educating the future generation but also saving the mother earth. Students in the school come from an economically poor background, as their parents can’t afford to send their children to quality school for want of hefty fees. Akshar School comes up with this idea to help marginalized families, where no monetary fees are being charged as the students get the education in exchange for waste plastics as fees.

The students collect waste plastics every day from home and recycle them at school to save the environment. The teaching technique in the school is also very different. Here the students play both the roles of teacher and learner. The beautiful idea is the brainchild of Parmita Sarma and her husband Mazin Mukhtar, who came up with the idea in order to break the cycle of poverty by educating the children.

Speaking to News Sense, Parmita Sarma, said “earlier the students were not coming to school regularly as they had to earn their living, so, Akshar Foundation thought of paying the fees to the students on the basis of their development in gaining knowledge, teaching the younger ones and recycling plastics. The foundation provides them fake notes and not real money as the parents take away from their children and misuse it. The actual money is deposited into the student’s account as their fees“. 

Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s Nai Talim education philosophy, Akshar’s secondary curriculum balances vocational training with conventional academics. Akshar’s model enables customized learning through technology: e-books, exercises, videos, lectures, documentaries and learning games. With daily coaching from older teens, young students gain access to the limitless learning resources available through technology.

Most of these students face abuses at home and no support for acquiring knowledge, so a small step to encourage them by appreciating their efforts means a lot to them. This school has its own shopping websites for its students to buy their requirements on their own, which also makes them learn to use technology for betterment.

The school prepares its students for real-life challenges not only to appear for an exam to secure good marks. Hence, this school teaches students to develop themselves and beautify the whole community.