Aheritage school in Gujarat’s Vadnagar where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had his initial education has been restored and is being redeveloped under project ‘Prerna’ to serve as a centre of inspiration for children through immersive experience, top government sources said on Tuesday.
Built in the late 19th century, the school has been restored in an old architectural style by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Based on the vision of the prime minister, this ”first-of-its-kind” school redevelopment project ‘Prerna: The Vernacular School’ is being undertaken to inspire the youth of the county to become catalysts of change, the sources said.\R The architectural revival and redevelopment of the old school are part of a holistic and mega redevelopment plan for the historic city of Vadnagar that traces an uninterrupted continuum of human habitation for more than 2500 years, they said.\R ”The programme is expected to be rolled out later this year. Two students from each district of the country will take part in the programme which will be conducted in a series of batches. Each batch will have 30 students, covering 15 districts, and in 50 weeks, all 750 districts will be covered spanning 1,500 students in total,” a source said.
This ”experiential school” will offer an ”unique pedagogy” and use both unconventional and tech-based means to impart values and inspire children to become catalysts of change in future, the source said.
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”It is envisioned to be a school of the future, and to give an impetus to education and values. It will be a residential programme and the central government will bear all the necessary expenses on each child who will be part of ‘Prerna’,” the source said.
The primary objective of this initiative is to inspire Indians across all the districts, starting from Vadnagar, and see, if can be replicated, perhaps in other parts of the country, the source said.
The aim of this project is empower individual thought and self identity, build a feeling of pride and duty towards the country, instill a sense of initiative, invoke a feeling of unity and respect for the diversity of land, people and ideologies, and promote the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the source said.
”Children will take part in sessions on valour and and compassion, among other topics. They will learn about valour through the stories of 21 Param Vir Chakra winners, about compassion from the life and legacy of Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira, Emperor Ashoka, Mahatma Gandhi, among others. Speeches of prominent leaders like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru will be told to the children through holograms,” the source said.
On the late 19th century building of the school, the source said work on its restoration began in 2018.
”The old building has been restored using vernacular elements of architecture and it by imagining the way the structure may have looked originally,” the source said. The criteria of selection and other modalities are currently being worked out, the source said, adding, children from all kinds of schools will be eligible to be part of the initiative.
About 100 km from Ahmedabad, Vadnagar in Mehsana district of Gujarat, is a historic town with population of approximately 28,000.
In December 2022, ASI officials had said that Vadnagar town and the iconic Sun Temple at Modhera in Gujarat, and rock-cut relief sculptures of Unakoti in Tripura, were added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
”This listing on the tentative list of UNESCO heritage sites, will give a boost to tourism in Vadnagar and further in Gujarat,” the source said.