by Sarah Small
After receiving his MBA from ILLINOIS in 1998 and spending several years working in the United States Anshul Pathak returned to his home in India; there he founded Town Schools, a teaching system that provides education opportunities to people in rural parts of India.
“I had a desire to go to the underprivileged parts of the country and do something for them,” Pathak said. “We wanted to do something for the people and the service we chose was education.”
The idea of Town Schools surfaced in 2007, Pathak said, and by 2008, the schools were a reality, with the first Town School opening in December of 2008.
Town Schools educate students anywhere from 14 and 40 years old, and at the schools they are trained in different trades and assisted in finding jobs after they complete their programs.
“The entire mission is about making people employable,” Pathak said.
With numerous programs, students who attend Town Schools can get certification in fields such as accounting, information technology, tourism and many others. While there has been employment success for students after program completion, Pathak said, the employment rates could still be higher.
“People still seem to shy away from getting jobs for cultural reasons,” Pathak said. “Sometimes the girls don’t want to get jobs.”
Looking into the future, the Town School operation is poised to open 250 new schools throughout the country in 2010. Pathak said 60 have already been signed-up and are currently in the commencement phase.
Eventually, Pathak said he would like to see Town Schools expand out of India and into other areas, such as parts of Africa and Latin America.
In January, a group of students from ILLINOIS, led by Madhu Viswanathan, professor in Business Administration, traveled to India to visit the Town Schools and meet with some of the schools’ students.
“The University of Illinois sent some of its students to the Town Schools to visit,” Pathak said. “The (Town School) students were very happy to talk with them.”
Pathak said he enjoyed being able to show his friends from ILLINOIS the Town Schools he created and was pleased that the students were able to meet and spend time together. “Illinois was a life-changing experience,” Pathak said. “The kind of people I met there, the kind of experiences I had in the U.S. is something I cherish and is something I will continue to cherish my whole life.”
For more information on the Town Schools, visit: http://townschoolsindia.org/news_more.php?id=12