Meet the Founders
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Mrs. Anutai Wagh (1910- 1992)
Anutai Wagh’s life is an inspiration in many ways. She was married early and widowed in less than six months at age thirteen. Given the customs of her time, Anutai had very little to look forward to in life.
Fortunately, with support and encouragement from her family, Anutai resumed her education. She stood first in the Vernacular Final exam in 1925. She then completed the Primary Teacher’s Certificate course at the Women’s Training College in Pune in 1929.
Between 1929 and 1933, Anutai taught at a village school in Chandwad Taluka in Nashik District. It was not easy. There was strong opposition to educating girls and Anutai faced considerable hostility. But she persevered. She refused to make any distinction between men and women and addressed both as gender-neutral ‘friends’.
In 1933, Anutai Wagh joined the well-known Huzurpaga School in Pune. She worked there for eleven years during which time, in addition to her teaching duties, she was responsible for managing the library, the annual souvenir and school events. Anutai’s interest in child education was aroused when she came upon a copy of ‘Shikshan Patrika (Education Newsletter)’, a monthly magazine published by Tarabai Modak.
Anutai did not allow her job to come in the way of her education. She enrolled in the Huzurpaga Night School and completed her matriculation in 1937. She completed her graduation in 1961, when she was 51 determined to finish despite the cataracts in her eyes
In 1945 Anutai met Tarabai Modak who asked her if she was willing to work among the tribals in Palghar. Tarabai was planning to start an experimental school for tribal children. Anutai said yes, a decision which set the course for the rest of her life. [...]
Mr. Ramesh Panse
Mr. Ramesh Panse left a secure career as a Professor of Economics to pursue his passion for Social Work and Children’s Education. It was with this shift that, Mr Panse, in his own words, ‘from being a teacher of postgraduate students, he finally graduated and elevated his status to being a teacher of little preschool children’.
Today, Mr Panse, or Panse Sir to the legion of his admirers, is a well-known child-educationist in the State of Maharashtra, India. Over the past three decades, his major contribution to the society has been an all-around effort towards the awareness, acceptance and practice of high quality, learner-centric and development-appropriate childhood education in the Indian states of Maharashtra and its neighboring state of Goa. He has achieved this through knowledge creation and dissemination, as well as awareness and education programs for a wide array of stakeholders. Perhaps most importantly, he has led the application of the theory and principles by leading the creation of model preschools and primary schools, as well as teacher-training programs to benefit underprivileged tribal, rural and urban areas. He did this on an individual level, by partnering with other experts, as well as through two nonprofit organizations that he founded and continues to oversee: ‘Gram-mangal’ (from gram = village, mangal = prosperity or well-being) and ‘Maharashtra Bal-Shikhan Parishad’ (Maharashtra Childhood Education Organization), both of which continue to dedicate themselves to the goal of bringing quality childhood education to all children. [...]
“.....the emergence of new approaches to learning that draw upon a range of insights into the human brain, the functioning of human societies, and learning as a community-wide activity” - from the 21st Century Learning Initiative(www.21learn.org)