My recent visit to Palanpur, nestled in Gujarat's Banaskantha District, was a journey into my family's past and an exploration of the evolving educational landscape. This town, where my grandparents grew up, was once a princely state under British rule. It's known for its agricultural prowess, dairy industry, and its roles in diamond trading and textiles.
Seventy-six years ago, Vidya Mandir was founded by members of the Palanpuri community who wanted to give back to the place that served them.
My involvement with this school in various capacities, especially in admissions and partnerships, has been a fulfilling journey. There's satisfaction in collaborating with VMT teachers for their visits to Mumbai schools and in fostering a relationship between Vidya Mandir Trust and Deutsche Schule Bombay.
The charm of Palanpur lies in its ability to transport me back to the times of spent with Ba-Dadaji -a glimpse into a life that was slower and more community-centric, a stark contrast to the bustling pace of Mumbai. However, the march of globalization has touched even this quaint town, leaving a bittersweet taste as it intertwines with the local culture.
During this trip, I had the opportunity to interact with about 150 families. Their perspectives offered a unique insight into the current zeitgeist, revealing how education in Palanpur is evolving. VMT, once the sole educational choice, now shares the stage with new schools adopting standardized educational models, offering broader options for parents. I feel concerned that the core intent of education is shifting from a focus on literacy to a more commercial, numbers-driven approach.
Amidst these changes, VMT itself is at a crossroads, balancing its rich legacy with the need to adapt to contemporary educational demands.