Anutai Wagh

Madam Montessori’s idea of informal education i.e. joyful learning reached India in 1914, when Times of India wrote some articles in their newspaper. Next year, in 1915 the very first Montessori school was established in (then) princely state of Gujarat. Montessori’s westernised concept of learning was Indianised by Gijubhai Badheka – a visionary in education. Soon Tarabai Modak joined the wonderful endeavour of his educating the little ones in an organised but nondirective and informal way in the Bal Mandirs, established by Gijubhai on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi.

This heralded the era of Pre-primary schooling in India. Nutan Bal Shikshan Sangh (NBSS) was formed in 1926 for this purpose .

Though NBSS was very successful in the field of child education, it was more of an urban effort and could not cater to a vast majority of the Indian children because of their economic condition and  the prevalent caste system. Tarabai Modak, a true Gandhian, pondered over this issue and gave her attention to the slums and the poorer sections within the city. It was her firm belief that this deprived section of the society needed same type of education but imparted in a different way.

The cost of the preschool education was high as Montessori way is an elaborate equipment based education.  Tarabai Modak wanted to bring the cost of pre school education as low as she could so that education would have far and wide reach. This brought to her mind the rural and tribal children and KOSBAD was born many pathbreaking decisions were taken and there were many trials and difficulties. But today NBSS still functions at Kosbad Hill, in Dahanu Taluka of Palghar district, in Maharashtra, as a guiding institution in pre-primary & primary education. But Tarabai Modak, with her equally dedicated co-worker, Anutai Wagh persisted & preserved.

During Tarabai’s transition from Mumbai to Bordi and then to Kosbad she had met Anutai Wagh who offered her services and both of them worked hard tirelessly and endlessly in an atmosphere totally alien to them. Educating the tribals was very novel and new concept not only to these two devoted, dedicated and determined educationists, but also to the tribals themselves. In the years that followed selfless and tireless dedication helped to educate large numbers of children in an otherwise deprived section of society.Various new experiments were visualized and successfully implemented at Kosbad. 

The New Challenge

Since then, Govt. of India, taking inspiration from Kosbad experiment has established such institutions all over. Thus now NBBS new faces new challenges.

  1. To make Kosbad the Ruling Place of Pre School Education.
  2. To make it Globalised and Modern-without taking away its down to earth approach.
  3. To develop it into an International Research centre for Child Education.

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