Development

From year to year the little school grew to become what it is today: three nursery school classes divided by age, and primary school classes from Year 1 to Year 5.

Before Benett Pratap died in 1999 at the age of 90, he passed the legacy of his school on to his youngest son, Neel, and his German wife, Birgit, a nursery-school teacher and social education worker who had been living with Neel and their three children in the Pratap household for 20 years, and been actively involved at the school.

For a long time, it had been one of Birgit’s deepest desires to improve the quality of the school. She cut the numbers of children per class drastically and tried to improve the teaching by introducing more varied teaching materials, qualified teachers, and teacher supervision.

Currently, around 170 girls and boys attend the school. The children are still being taught in extremely small, simple, open classrooms which are desperately in need of renovation and extension. Part of the Prataps’ house and their veranda have also had to be turned into classrooms.

Because of the high temperatures in summer (approx. 48 °C) and the cold winters in Varanasi the open classrooms need to be protected from the weather. At the moment this is done using simple hangings made of thick plastic or material. However, this means that the rooms are dark and get too hot, so the school urgently needs storage batteries to provide electricity for lights and fans. Unfortunately, the city council mainly cuts off the electricity supply in the mornings, when the school is open.

In Summer 2009 the Wider Vision Foundation was set up in Varanasi and included the Naveen Nursery & Primary School as a school project for children from poor families.