Published: 05th June 2020
This Pune-based school has spent 25-years bringing high-quality education to those who are most deprived of it
Fees are nominal at the school — Rs 500-600 a month. It follows the state board curriculum and teaches children from nursery to Class 10. We find out more
Valley View High School is one of the oldest schools to be imparting quality education to the minority and underprivileged students in Kondhwa, Pune for the past 24 years. It was founded in 1996 by Sunita Jeevan Kulkarni and her husband Jeevan Kulkarni. Sunita has over 40 years of experience in the education sector and has been a teacher all her life. "I used to teach at the Bishop School, Pune and after I had gathered enough experience, I thought of starting something of my own where I can impart knowledge especially to underprivileged children. We then went looking for a place and in the year 1996, the Valley View High School was set up in Kondhwa. We started with just eight children, today we have more than 1700 children," says the 70-year-old.
Fees are nominal at the school — Rs 500-600 per month. The school follows the state board curriculum and teaches children from nursery to Class 10. Five years ago she handed down the baton to her son Nilesh Kulkarni who has since been looking after the school. "We are at crossroads as with the pandemic we don't know where we stand, many migrant children are studying here, we will have to find out what's happened to them if they have gone back or they are here," adds Sunita.
Sunita Jeevan Kulkarni
Nilesh, who has a full-time job at Accenture, looks after school during the weekends. "Valley View High is a government-recognised, self-funded school. For the past few years, I have been quite active and was getting CSR funding through friends primarily. Up until the last two years, the school was functioning solely with the money generated through fees in our school. We are using the revenue generated from the fees for maintaining the infrastructure and well-being of students, " he says.
He adds that a close friend, whom he reconnected with during his school reunion a few years ago has adopted the school - in terms of providing funds for infrastructural changes and other needs. "We have digitised almost 100 per cent of our school. The school has recently been transformed into one that boasts of 55-inch smart televisions in every classroom and the best content for Science and Mathematics powered by the industry leader BYJU's," he adds.
The school recently ran a STEM experiential learning programme for around 300 students of Classes 7, 8 and 9. Children were taught coding, robotics, automation which helped them create their own projects. "The final leg of their projects and presenting the same to their parents couldn't take place as that's when COVID-19 hit us. Bearing the costs of such projects is not something that the children's parents can afford, but these are things that the students need, we feel. So, it is important to conduct such programmes at the school. These are kids who do not enjoy the basic luxuries that we have been able to, thus the focus is also to give them exposure to extra-curricular activities. Several friends have donated over the years and we have been able to sponsor, on an average, 200-300 children every year to attend a few international events, free of cost. These kids in regular situations could never have been able to experience these events," adds Nilesh. The events range from Pro Kabaddi, International Cricket One day, Test matches, IPL Cricket matches for students and has also sponsored over 200 parents of academically top-performing girl students to ISL football league matches, all at zero cost. This year has also been a year of recognition for the Valley View High School as it was awarded the third rank amongst the Budget Private Schools in Maharashtra.
In 2021, the school is gearing up to welcome their 25th year. "We don't know what will happen to our plans due to the pandemic, but we have quite a few things planned for the silver jubilee celebrations next year. We will be conducting engagement programmes to bring together the students, parents, our staff and make it a memorable year for everyone," concludes Nilesh.