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 (Kanubhai) Chhotalal Mehta and was made possible with the generous assistance of three prominent Palanpuris. They were the Late Mrs. Kesarben Amrutlal Raichand Jhaveri, the family members of Late Mr. Gaffurchandbhai Chunilal Mehta and Late Mr. Surajmal Lallubhai Mehta.
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.
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, orthopedically 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 over 650 computers all connected to high speed internet.
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.
In the year 1998 & 2012, the Trust celebrated its 50th & 60th anniversary by organizing alumni meets and various programmes.
A simple, yet spectacular function was held on January 6 and 7, 2018 to celebrate the beginning of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the Vidyamandir Trust, Palanpur. More than five hundred members of the Palanpuri Jain community and other well wishers from various cities across India and the world came to Palanpur to attend the celebrations which also saw the launching of a number of new projects. Actor and Humanitarian Padmabhushan Aamir Khan and Padmabhushan Deepak Parekh (Chairman, HDFC Group) won the hearts of the audience with their auspicious speeches.
Since many years, 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. Started in the year 2000, 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 since 1992.
Since many years, 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’. Since many years, the association works closely with the management in organizing cultural events, sports meets, education tours, and parents are encouraged to be actively involved in the education of their children and interact closely with the management.