Awake & Shine School
The Awake and Shine primary School is located at Samthar Village in the Darjeeling Hills. It is located 80 Kms ( 04 hrs) from Kalimpong. and 160 Kms (05.30 hrs) from Bagdogra Airport / New Jalpaiguri Rail Station,
The School aims at providing quality elementary schooling, in a rural setting. It was founded on the firm belief that rural children deserve quality education in order to create a “level playing field” with urban children,
General "Jimmy" Singh’s vision for setting up the school is to develop the personality of rural children and to empower them through ability to communicate in English, so that they can find future careers in tourism related activities.
The School Mission is to enable children to grow and learn in a joyous environment, ensuring all round development.
The School objective is to lay the foundation for English medium education, to enable admission to such schools, after completing either the three years foundation course, or the seven years foundation plus primary course. The focus throughout is on proficiency in spoken English and the balanced development of mind and body. The inculcation of self confidence, spirit of adventure, good manners, personal hygiene, environmental values, pride in manual labour, and development of skills through hobbies have been kept in mind whilst devising the syllabus
Infrastructure has been created through a partnership with the local community. Local families have provided land, stones, wood, and unskilled labour. Funds were provided by General Jimmy Singh for skilled labour, building hardware, educational toys, class room furniture and fittings. The family providing the land retains ownership of the land and buildings have been donated to them. In addition home stay cottages have been built on their land to provide income from paying guests. Care has been taken to design buildings that use local material and merge with the landscape.
The School commenced education with a single nursery class with 15 Children in Feb 2007. Gen Jimmy Singh, Charles Lepcha -, tour guide turned school teacher, and Henry Unwin, a young volunteer from UK worked as a team to execute the concept and work out the innovative curriculum
Community demand lead to rapid expansion and by June 07, the School was running Nursery and Lower Kindergarten classes with a total of 30 children on its rolls. The Upper Kindergarten class was started in Feb 2008.
The community appreciated the value of quality education at the foundation level and expressed a desire to upgrade the pre- school to a primary school (Classes 1 to 4), in order to enable their Children to continue their quality education at Samthar. Accordingly the Awake and shine Pre School was upgraded to a Primary school in Feb 2010
In a span of four years, the awake & Shine School has succeeded in created a model educational infrastructure in a remote Himalayan village and evolved innovative teaching methods for the rural child, using local material and modest means. This has been done at a fraction of the cost that the government is planning to put into the “model” Schools, planned to implement the Right of children to free and compulsory education Act 2009 The school has expanded from a single nursery class to 6 classes, with first rate infrastructure.
The two images below show the difference between Class rooms in a typical government funded primary school, in the hills, and the Awake & Shine School.
In 2011, the Awake & Shine School is providing quality education to 111 Children. Our unique curriculum is showing positive results.. Our children are confident and fit, They are now speaking, reading and writing in English, are sharp in Mathematics, and are learning to think for themselves. They are keenly interested in creative skills. They are now capable and confidant of seeking admission to any English medium School, after 3 years Pre Schooling or 3 + 4 years primary education
Browse these pages, to learn more details, about our rural experimental school.