Frequently Asked Questions
What is unique about Agastya?
Agastya's focus is on transforming the critical, and much neglected sector, of primary and secondary education for rural children and teachers in India. Unique features of the project include:
1. Idea Generation – Large Scale Distribution model: Provides a high-impact platform for creating and distributing ideas on a large scale. The Creativity lab tests and generates ideas and applications that are distributed to millions of children and teachers through mobile labs and science centers.
2. Close link between Teacher Education and the School Classroom: Few primary/secondary education projects in the world have linked teacher education closely with the ‘real world’ of the school classroom. Agastya’s Creativity Lab provides the perfect environment for achieving such linkages.
3. Creativity for the poor and disadvantaged: Through interactive and engaging learning methods, Agastya aims to spark curiosity and creativity in disadvantaged children and teachers.
4. Emphasis on developing positive Behavioral Skills: Agastya focuses on nurturing behavioral skills like teamwork, leadership and community development.
5. Learning linked to Environment Goals: Agastya relates its learning programs to the sustainable needs (clean air, water, health) of the community.
6. An outstanding, multi-skilled, collaborative team of urban and rural educators: Scientists and business executives work in partnership with village instructors, local and state governments and premier institutions.
Why has Agastya focused on primary and secondary education?
A strong primary and secondary education system is the bedrock of a nation's success. As compared to many countries India lags behind in this critical area. Improvements here will have a "trickle up" impact on the rest of the education system.
How relevant is Agastya's approach to India?
Agastya’s approach addresses significant gaps in India’s education system that threaten its socio-economic development.
1. There is little creativity. The system is focused on exams and rote learning. Children in rural areas rarely find an opportunity to express themselves creatively and develop as productive citizens.
2. There is a shortage of almost 3 million teachers in schools. In rural areas the pupil-to-teacher ratio often exceeds 100:1
3. Teacher education is divorced from classroom realities.
4. Widespread neglect of community development and ecology - e.g., poor health, hygiene, deforestation and disappearance of water bodies - present grave threats to India’s development.
What work has Agastya done in education?
- Conducted high-impact hands-on learning and creativity programs for over 2 million children and 70,000 teachers, of whom over 95% are rural, in 20 districts in India.
- Reached children directly through Mobile Labs and Science Fairs.
- Conducted programs in Science, Math, Memory Development, Art, Sculpture, Ecology, English; Creativity, Teamwork, Leadership and Motivation skills programs.
- Established a major Creativity Lab on its rural campus in Gudivanka, two and a half hours by road from Bangalore.
- Planted over 17,000 trees (110 species) on campus and surrounding areas, which will in time help to transform the local ecosystem.
For more details see What We Have Accomplished.
Who are the people behind AGASTYA?
See Who Are the Trustees & Management.
Why is the Agastya Campus located in Gudivanka, Andhra Pradesh?
- Gudivanka is strategically located at the intersection of three rapidly growing southern Indian states – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- It is easily accessible by road and train from Bangalore (India’s Silicon Valley), and Chennai.
- It is a backward area with low levels of literacy.
Are Agastya’s learning centers open to everyone?
Agastya's policy is to encourage the involvement of teachers and students from all communities and religions.
Does Agastya partner with other institutions?
Yes. See Who Are Our Partners.
Why should I/we contribute to Agastya?
1. You will help to solve a critical and fundamental problem for India - lack of quality primary and secondary education for the poor.
2. You will help to create a valuable long-term, self-sustaining asset and legacy.
3. It offers your children a unique opportunity to study, learn and imbibe Indian culture in India in a creative educational setting.
4. If you have business in India, your business will benefit from being able to
a) Offer employees' children a unique educational experience
b) Attract better equipped and productive future employees and leaders
c) Generate positive social and market perception
5. As a Non Resident Indian (NRI) your contribution in dollars ($s), pounds (£s), or other foreign currency will go significantly further in India than almost anywhere else in the world.
6. Your money will be put to effective and productive use by an established private organization with an excellent track record.
You can make a major positive difference!
Is there a minimum contribution?
There is no minimum or maximum contribution.
Are contributions to Agastya tax deductible? Where do I send the money?
Your contributions are tax deductible under both US and Indian law. For details on where to send money, please see How to Donate.