The greatest asset of the school is its location. Functioning from the river bed, it is in close proximity to the living quarters of families it is accessing. Most of the schools are in urban colonies and for children to attend these schools, they require to negotiate traffic and also spend resources on transportation. Both these factors act as deterrents for parents to send their children to schools, especially a girl child. Bringing education to their doorstep, Pragati is planning to bring about an attitudinal change towards the need for education and open a window of opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and low self esteem.
Apart from a rich environment of study, the school also provides free text books, exercise books, stationery, uniforms and sometimes when the budget allows, even even mid-day meals. In our world of technology, the knowledge of computer is important so computer education forms a key part of the curriculum in Pragati Wheel. A computer lab with 8 computers has been set up and computer education is imparted from class three onwards. The school also provides the students with an audio-visual lab and solar power lamps for students, which enables them to study at home after dark.
While encouraging students to become literate, the school is making efforts to make their childhood enjoyable by providing them indoor and outdoor games. Educational and recreational trips are organized from time to time to broaden their vision.
There can be a long list of things that need to be done to provide these children an opportunity to understand and exploit their potential. Some things relate to provide physical and material amenities, while others relate to their psychological and attitudinal growth. Thus, it is the earnest desire of the school to tackle both these issues by providing a better learning environment through more classrooms, uniforms, books, one to one interaction through good and more teachers and enhance their development through exposure to the world with large through trips and outings.
Education for them has to satisfy not only their quest for knowledge but also ameliorate the stark realities of poverty, which requires the necessity of integrating their education into the needs of daily living. The school aims to provide them as they reach higher classes with practical knowledge of their parental profession eg. farming, horticulture, or a trade which can be a source of economic support or else education becomes the first casualty. Another major concern, which Pragati Wheel acknowledges is the health of these children. The school is making efforts to provide health check up for them along with immunization programme.
Talking about their immediate aims, the management and the school authority said that they want to focus on increasing the outreach of the school to across the river, so that children from similar background can make it to the school. The increase in number of children from 180 to 300 is also Pragati Wheel's immediate concerns along with a meal every day to these kids. While all the above goals aim at the children's present, for students who are interested to continue study, the school wants to support them too.
The school has been supported and funded by the individual philanthropy of the Basant Charitable Trust, which has, since its inception in 1979, been involved in running a girls school near Meerut and a primary health care centre in Punjab, along with individual contributions from friends. While with its limited resources, it can provide basic facilities it does not have the capacity to take Pragati to the next level and stage as envisaged.
The school to meet the need of the surrounding area will have to increase the strength to 300, which means more class rooms, greater expense on books and stationery ,more teachers, etc. The school is hence, looking for assistance for a greater outreach and also better amenities for the children. The assistance needed primarily are in the health and nutrition department, materials such as books and stationery, uniforms or financial assistance for hiring of teachers and support staff.
Providing the students with a holistic education is the sole aim of the school. 'An education, which not only prepares them for an examination but also enhances their self- esteem' is what Pragati wheel feel is true education. It also teaches them freedom of choice - a freedom to do what they love and enjoy.