It is the nursery that has nurtured some of the brightest stars from today’s Palanpur, with its students regularly getting high ranking merit positions (among the top ten in the state) in the Gujarat State Education Board examinations, with about 20% of its students from the Higher Secondary section getting admission into India’s leading medical colleges, and with many of its alumni building successful careers in different professions.
That’s the Vidyamandir Trust, Palanpur, which today runs 164 institutes spread over 14 campuses, with a highly experienced and knowledgeable teaching and non-teaching staff of over 500, catering to the requirements of around 6400 students.
Started in 1948 as Shri Palanpur Shishushala, Balmandir and Education Trust with the aim of providing quality education to the people of Palanpur, the Trust was rechristened with its present name in 2006.
The Trust was founded by Late Mr. Kantilal Chhotalal Mehta (Kanubhai) and was made possible with the generous assistance of three prominent Palanpuris. They were the Late Mrs. Kesarben Amrutlal Raichand Jhaveri who shifted to a smaller house and donated the precious Taleybaug property with a bungalow admeasuring about 3995 sq. yards, the family members of Late Mr. Gaffurchandbhai Chunilal Mehta, who donated Rs.30,000/- and family members of Late Mr. Surajmal Lallubhai Mehta who donated Rs.50,000/-.
On 16th August 1951, the Trust took over the management of Shree Jain Shishushala, a Primary school meant for Jain children established by Late Shree Surajmal Lallubhai Mehta in 1921. In the early 1960s, Kanubhai appointed Mr. Suryakant C. Parikh, an established educationist from Pune as the Principal of Vidyamandir. Suryakantbhai ushered in many innovative changes in Vidyamandir which enhanced the standard of education in Palanpur. His experiment of combining modern and traditional systems of education in a very innovative way, made Vidyamandir in Palanpur famous as a modern educational complex.
Over the years the Trust has grown to cater to virtually every educational need of the local populace. The Trust runs English and Gujarati medium schools from the kindergarten level to the Higher Secondary, and from the 1970s runs its own Gujarati and English Medium Teachers’ Training Colleges for the pre-primary, primary and secondary school levels. In the same period, hostels were also set up for students studying at the different institutes on the campus.
A special feature of the campus is Mamtamandir – an institute for the physically challenged encompassing all four types of differently-abled students viz visually impaired, orthopaedically handicapped, hearing impaired and mentally challenged. Established in 1963, it provides vocational training to help the students become self-reliant and become a part of the social mainstream. This institute is the only one of its kind in Gujarat and education is provided absolutely free of cost. Besides education, the facilities include lodging and boarding and transportation. The Trust also provides ‘Inclusive Education’ to students of Mamtamandir who study with normal students. The institute has its own hostel, computer lab, AV theatre, gym, sports ground, workshops, and currently has about 325 students on its rolls.
Vidyamandir Trust has been at the forefront of change – introducing new technologies and teaching techniques. For example, it first introduced computers to the students in the 1980s and soon after incorporated it into the regular syllabus. Little wonder that today it has as many as eight computer labs with around 1000 computers.
It was also a pioneer in the concept of integrated education where visually impaired students’ study alongside normal students in the same classroom. This method, pioneered by Vidyamandir in 1969, was later accepted by educationists all over India.
Another innovation is the education programme for children of rural schools that lack basic infrastructure like a library and science lab. With its mobile lab and library, the Trust ensures that these facilities reach around 5000 students in 52 schools in an equal number of villages. The Trust offers scholarships to the promising students of schools as well as students of other schools coming from economically weak backgrounds.
Besides the regular curriculum, the Trust places great emphasis on sports and activities in the field of arts. The Sports Academy of the Trust offers training under expert coaches in 15 different disciplines and many of the students are selected to represent the district / state in state and national level competitions. In the field of performing arts, the Trust runs Kalayatan where students are trained in song, music, dance and drama. The students get the opportunity to perform at functions held by the Trust and also at competitions organized by government and private cultural organizations.
The Trust has other facilities like a state-of-the-art two fully computerized English language labs, separate labs of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, a library that has more than 30,000 books, a 600-seating capacity of air-conditioned auditorium and a beautifully landscaped garden spread over 4 acres.
Each of the schools run by the Trust has a strong Parents Association called Shivam, a word derived from ‘Shikshak, Vidyarthi, Mata-Pita’. The association works closely with the management in organizing cultural events, sports meet, education tours, and parents are encouraged to be actively involved in the education of their children and interact closely with the management.
|Shri Ashwinbhai Mafatlalbhai Mehta|
|Shri Keyurbhai Shantilalbhai Mehta|
|Shri Rajivbhai Mahendrabhai Mehta|
|Shri Nikunjbhai Babulalbhai Parikh|
|Shri Ashishbhai Kantilalbhai Mehta - Managing Trustee|
|Dr. Nilimaben Shreyasbhai Mehta (M.S.W., Ph.D.)|
|Shri Rajivbhai Pankajbhai Mehta|
|Shri Russellbhai Arunbhai Mehta - Chairman|
|Shri Vasantbhai Amrutlal Parikh - Joint Managing Trustee|
|Shri Pathikbhai Rajmalbhai Kothari|
|Dr. Satyavatiben Surajmalbhai Mehta (M.A., Ph.D)|
|E. Permanent Invitees|
|Dr. Leenaben Samirbhai Mehta|
|Shri Rajeshbhai Fatehchandbhai Mehta|
|Shri Rohitbhai Ashwinbhai Kothari|
|Shri Satishbhai Joravarmalbhai Kothari|
|Shri Satishbhai Tarachandbhai Mehta|
|Dr. Vikrambhai Manilalbhai Mehta (M.Com, Ph.D.)|
|Shri Vipulbhai Shirishkumar Modi|
|F. Special Invitees|
|Smt Hinaben Sachinbhai Mehta|
|Shri Kundanbhai Surajmalbhai Gandhi|
|Shri Mukeshbhai Kanubhai Shah|
|Smt Vibhaben Mehulbhai Kothari|
|G. Mumbai Office|
|Shri Bhadresh C. Gandhi - Secretary to BOT|
|Shri Mahendra S. Patel : Acting Director and Asst. Director - Gujarati Medium|
|Dr. Jyotsna Amin : Asst. Director - Teachers' Training Colleges|
|Dr. Atinbhai D. Joshi : In charge - Mamtamandir|
|Shri Kanubhai M. Prajapati : In charge - All Centres|
|Shri Shailesh C. Limbachiya : Manager - H.R.|
|Shri Shivram K. Prajapati : Chief Accounts Officer|
|Shri Naresh R. Panchal : Principal - Shri Vividhlaxi Vidyamandir & Shri K.M.Choksi Higher Secondary School|
|Shri Jignesh V. Patel : Principal - Smt. M. M. Mehta English Medium School (Std. 9 to 12)|
|Local Non-Academic Committee|
|Shri Shaileshbhai S. Mehta|
|Dr. Dilipbhai V. Shah|
|Smt. Surekhaben H. Shah|
|Dr. Praveenbhai M. Mehta|
|Shri Kamlesh S. Patel|
|Dr. Menan K. Mehta|
|Shri Atulbhai Shah, Mumbai(Honorary)|
|Shri Nishant Mehta, Mumbai|
|Shri Kaushikbhai Joshi, Mehsana|