CEO, The Akanksha Foundation
Akanksha has always been on a continuous path of learning about the bluose of education in a rapidly changing world. The year 2017-2018 was a year of ‘Looking Ahead’ for all of us. Building on Akanksha’s 27 years of experience during the previous two phases, 1991-2007 when Akanksha ran the after-school centres and 2007-2017 when we transitioned into running 20 schools, we wanted to define what the next decade in Akanksha’s journey would look like.
What would define excellent education in the coming ten years and hence, what would an Akanksha graduate look like?
How do we further our vision of serving ALL children?
Read the full letter
The Akanksha Foundation is a non-profit organisation (across Mumbai and Pune) with a mission to provide children from low-income communities with a high-quality education, enabling them to maximize their potential and transform their lives.
Today, we are one of the largest urban networks of public-private partnership schools of its kind in India. Looking ahead, we seek to expand our network of schools, share our effective practices and advocate for quality school reform for children across India.
In 2007, Akanksha aimed to create a model for high performing schools through The School Project, in collaboration with the Pune Municipal Corporation. Over the past 10 years, we have grown to 20 schools across Mumbai and Pune serving over 7400 children, in partnership with the PMC, PCMC, and the MCGM.
Our biggest priority through the year was ensuring that our schools are making continuous progress in their classrooms as well as providing high-quality experience and support to every student and family we serve.
Each Akanksha school builds and develops a team of teachers, a School Leader, admin, and a social worker collaborating to run the school.
The Akanksha curriculum and Network Support Team empowers teachers and school leaders with best practices in pedagogy, using a skills-based approach and rigorous standards for Student Learning.
Parents actively engage in the process of their child’s development through programs such as the School Management Committee, parent literacy classes, and parent volunteering
All schools undergo a School Development Review & biannual performance review to assess progress & plan next steps for school development. This encompasses reaching all children through our youth development initiatives nurtures the passion and talent of every child.
Each school maximises their use of time, money & materials - creatively leveraging government infrastructure, volunteers and a disciplined approach to managing the cost per child annually of our School.
We conduct School Culture Survey to draw insights on three key domains - relationship with leadership, mutual trust and respect, and teacher well being. The survey helps support the School Leaders to continuously strive towards maintaining a healthy school culture in alignment with our organisation’s values.
positive responses on relationship with school’s leadership indicating faith in our school leaders.
positive responses on the culture of mutual trust and respect
positive responses on teacher well being
Nearly 300 teachers participated in the survey. 40% of the teachers were with the Akanksha Foundation between 1-3 years, and 34% were with the Foundation for more than 3 years. The survey measured leadership, respect and trust, teacher well being, and engagement.
At Akanksha, we are continuously striving to strengthen our schools. We focus on three specific aspects that we believe would lead to the strengthening and development of our schools - Academic Achievement, Youth Development, and Community engagement.
Our focus is on skill development for every child, and on balancing traditional and progressive teaching methods to enhance learning opportunities. To support this focus, we ensure that the teaching staff and School Leaders are provided with regular training and are supported by Akanksha’s central Network Support Team. Teaching and Leadership Staff are provided support in creating structured lesson and learning plans.
School Leader, Acharya Vinoba Bhave School
“The Academic Achievement goal at AVBS is to build real-life application through all lessons. To be able to achieve this, all teachers focus on Strong Openings, Effective Questioning, and Checks for Understanding, in their respective lessons. Peer observations are carried out with the help of an observation tool, which allows teachers to provide feedback to each other as well as spot best practices. Helping hands, a Student Council initiative has been a huge contributing factor to help those students who learn better with their peers.”
MD Mustaque Alam
Teacher, DN Nagar school
“I use the Nalanda tablets in my Math class. The use of technology increases student engagement and student work-time. It allows me to dedicate more time to students. It has also enhanced teamwork and collaboration avenues during class and has enabled students to foster a problem-solving attitude. The use of tablets has definitely made Math classes interesting and fun.”
Our focus aims to provide age appropriate character building and socio-emotional skill development. Teachers, counsellors and social workers collaborate to make these goals come alive in the school.
We encourage children and adults to openly discuss about the issues and challenges that affect learning and the well-being of children (like bullying, alcohol abuse, and domestic violence). These are addressed through effective listening and collaborative problem solving.
A team of grade 7 students, from our KCTVN school won the Pune Regional Lego League Competition. The KCTVN Team, ‘Code Breakers’ floored the judges with their idea of solving the problem of overflowing of water... Read More
Scrappy News Partnership
When children become news anchors they also become change makers. #ScrappyNewsService launched a nationwide initiative to take on everyday issues that millions of people face not just in India but across the globe... Read More
Girls From Mahalaxmi
School Winning Trophy
In the past year, our girl students kicked up a storm in the field of football, breaking boundaries and stereotypes of every kind. Our grade 4 girls, from Mahalaxmi School in Mumbai... Read More
Dance And Movement With The American School Of Bombay (ASB)
Staging Changes program was a partnership between the American School of Bombay and the Akanksha Foundation, developed to create an integrated and authentic learning pathway... Read More
We believe that learning happens everywhere and in many innovative ways and the fewer the boundaries of subjects and content, the greater the learning. We put together a module of 35 lessons which brings together two very different subjects – Math and Art. It was designed for our Art and Math teachers to have fun with, explore, and go deeper for themselves and their students. These modules demonstrated that Math can be studied in different ways.
Through the Community Engagement focus, our aim is to strengthen parent-teacher engagement to aid student learning outcomes. We focus on developing strategies to work with communities at large to work in transformational manner.
Social workers lead a team of parents and help equip them with knowledge and skills they can use to drive positive change within the school by developing life skills ranging from health, hygiene and nutritional awareness along with spoken English classes.
of Akanksha schools have fully functioning SMCs trained on a regular basis versus 66% across the country
of Akanksha schools have consistent parent development initiatives offered through the year
Nutrition and Health Care
Starting in 2016, Akanksha’s SMCs launched an intensive nutrition and health care initiative across nine schools. They registered 750 Akanksha families to receive free check-ups and any prescribed medications. The SMCs also implemented an in-school nutrition program to Read More
Many parents struggle to connect with their children amid busy lives due to their long work hours. Parents at Akanksha’s D.N. Nagar School raised this issue in their SMC. They developed a simple but powerful exercise, called Building Bridges, where a parent and child sit Read More
Our parents and SMCs are also impacting government-run schools. A member of Akanksha’s Bopodi SMC also had a child at a local government-run school. She was shocked to find that despite having many issues, including a dilapidated structure and malnourished students, the school’s SMC was Read More
Support Groups for Women
In 2015-16 Akanksha formed its first Women’s Support Groups, focused on building self-confidence, leadership and workforce skills and economic independence. As part of the program, partnering colleges and organizations—such as Majlis Legal Center, Animedh Charitable Trust Read More
Several SMCs identified physical abuse at home as a major issue facing their communities. Akanksha’s Laxmi Nagar School conducted a survey that revealed 87% of students were physically abused at home. The parents in the SMC worked to educate other parents about the impact of Read More
We have over 2500 School and Centre Alumni who have carved a strong path
for themselves with their career and further studies.
In 2017, Akanksha initiated their Alumni Support and Engagement program to create an ecosystem of support for all alumni to fulfill their life goals.
The program aims to address the growing needs of the organization as it continues to evolve. To ensure that we support our alumni in the best possible manner, we conducted a round of research to understand the needs of our alumni. Through surveys, town halls and personal interviews, we arrived at the five key areas that needed to be addressed.
of our alumni have cleared Grade 12
School and Center Alumni
of our students passing the SSC enroll in Junior College
of our Alumni enroll in degree college to continue education
College & Career Awareness
Supriya joined K.C. Thackeray Vidya Niketan in grade 5. She is an animal lover and started to advocate for animals since grade 7. During her final year in college, Supriya lost her father. The loss of a loved one and the only earning member in the family led to a dire situation at home. Surpiya decided the only way to support her family and to ensure that her siblings continued with their education was to get a job. She started working in a publishing house run by the Sadhu Vaswani Mission. Within a year her strong work ethic led to her being given more responsibility and currently, she manages two bookstores and a mobile store. She also volunteers at an NGO that rescues and shelters animals and writes short stories. Once, she completes her masters, Supriya plans to make a career as a social activist, empowering people to fight for their rights and starting an NGO for animals.
He enrolled in an Akanksha center at the age of seven and then continued to be a part of the Service Learning Program (SLP) in grade 11. During this program, Nizamuddin formed a close bond with Rohit bhaiya, an SLP teacher, who made him aware about various social causes, gave him a sense of bluose and made him feel comfortable enough to share important things about in his life. Inspired by Rohit bhaiya’s passion and dedication, Nizamuddin decided to work hard, get good grades and make the most of his life. Today, he is a confident and talented young adult, working as a Software Associate with Capgemini.
A book featuring 25 of Akanksha’s alumni stories
This year we launched a book, edited by Saker Mistri, that highlights and celebrates 25 Akanksha stories. Each of the stories is a representation of the stories of the millions of young people in our country and the barriers that stand before them to reach their dreams. The book is about parents and teachers and the school as a community that has the power to change lives.
Established in 2013, India School leadership Institute (ISLI) is a project of Akanksha Foundation and among the first organisations in India dedicated to developing skills of School Leaders.
School Leaders include principals, headmasters/headmistresses & owners of Government, budget-private or low-income schools. ISLI aims to create a pipeline of leaders equipped to lead high performing schools for children of underserved communities and establish the benchmark for School Leadership training in India. The Fellowship Programme, which is specially designed to develop and improve their skills in order to provide a great education in their schools.
Being the change at Akanksha is living and leading by our values. It empowers us to transform our teams, our schools, and our organisation into all that it can be. Be The CHANGE articulates the spirit of our 6 core values.
Akanksha 3.0 is based on three principles — Prove, Multiply, and Advocate. Going into the future, Akanksha will create multiple ‘proof points’ through its schools, students and alumni who demonstrate the power of our vision. This network of our people and our schools will act as ‘multipliers’ and ‘advocates’ influencing school system reform through advocacy and partnerships.
Children & Alumni
Strengthening proof points through schools, students and alumni
Participate in policy advocacy through research & partnerships
Enable setting up 65 Akanksha inspired schools through a School Leadership Academy
Unleash the power of voice of our students, educators, parents to inﬂuence neighbourhood schools & the wider community
Developing 15 more ‘proof points’ in new cities, or through innovative schools
We envision all students graduate from our school empowered with a sense of Mastery, Autonomy & bluose for success in the 21st Century
Shapes the beliefs, actions and attitude of a person. They must be underpinned by knowledge and skills and therefore form the core of the student vision framework
Manage and recognise own emotions, develop and care and concern for others, nurture positive relationships, learn to solve problems and make responsible decisions
Key Knowledge domains
To be mastered by each Akanksha graduate to be successful in the 21st centuary, the global environment
These competencies are necessary for a globalised, digital interconnected world. We are hoping to develop this in our schools, going forward.
Being the change at Akanksha, is living and leading by our values. It empowers us to transform our teams, our schools and our organisation into all that it can be.
We come together to reach our vision. We reach out to support each other in achieving our goals and we derive joy in other’s success.
We are here because we believe. We believe in our vision, mission and in our ability to achieve ambitious goals. We believe in each other’s potential to go beyond expectations.
ACT WITH INTEGRITY
We do what we say we will do. We take ownership of our actions. We hold ourselves and others accountable to the goals we set and our commitments.
NEVER GIVE UP
We do whatever it takes! We are resilient and learn from our mistakes. We are persistent in our passion for long-term goals.
We embrace our diversity. We care deeply about each other and treat everyone with dignity.
EXCEL & ENJOY
We raise the bar and go beyond expectations. We strive to learn continuously and push ourselves to get better every day in the role we play. We derive enjoyment in working together, in each others success and in everything that we do.
The Akanksha School Leadership Academy aims to create transformational leaders who will overcome the challenges of educational inequity by designing schools that are progressive, rigorous and joyful for children. We aim to create visionary leaders who drive a learning environment that ensures success through academic achievement, social & emotional support, and a strong relationship with the community.
Our approach is grounded in immersing aspiring School Leaders in all aspects of school leadership through experiential learning and consistent focus on the leadership competencies. These competencies form the foundation of our program and aim to equip our aspiring school leaders with the skills and attitudes necessary to inspire and motivate a team of excellent educators, working together to provide children with a love for learning and life.
Designing a Vision
Developing People & Culture
Assistant School leader, Natwar Nagar school
“The School Leadership Academy gave me a platform to learn from and interact with excellent educators from different schools in Mumbai and Pune. One of my biggest takeaways was the observation debrief cycle and the session on difficult conversations. Both these help me a lot in my current role of supporting teachers from grades 3 to 5. I have a lot of clarity when I actually plan before having a debrief with the teacher and feel confident to initiate a conversation about difficult situations when needed.”
School Leader at Kalewadi School
“Being part of the School Leadership Academy last year has taught me many valuable skills. It has helped me realize the importance of having a clear vision in order to be able to achieve your dreams. It has helped me understand the real challenges faced in a leadership role and various ways to approach them.”