Aikiyam School in New Creation serves 200 children from the villages near Auroville, with classes from pre-crèche to grade 8 in classes of maximum 20 children. Most children are from economically disadvantaged families.
Aikiyam School started in the early 1980s. It was then called New Creation School, and was later renamed New Creation Bilingual School as classes were given in both English and Tamil. Originally it was a small boarding school for children from the traditional and impoverished village of Kuilapalayam, where the only mode of transport besides walking was by bullock cart, or, for the better off, by bicycle. Today both the village and the school have changed.
Presently, Aikiyam School is a day-school under SAIIER’s Auroville Outreach School Board for more than 200 children, with classes ranging from pre-kindergarten to the eighth grade. The curriculum includes all of the standard academic subjects as well as art, music, dancing, physical education, computer education, carpentry and crafts. The school also has a program for children with special needs. All tuition, educational supplies, nutritious snacks and mid-day meals are provided free of charge, although parents are asked to donate to the school if they can.
Classes are small (between 15 and 20 students) and the majority of permanent teachers are Tamil, with a few international teachers as well. The school relies partly on help from international volunteer teachers, especially for developing fluency in English.
Since 2005 the school has a new management team that works in close collaboration with the school’s principal and teachers.
In 2007 the school received provisional affiliation for a period of three years from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). CBSE promotes creative education at all levels through the application of learning by doing. Being a CBSE school means that the children will no longer have to sit for State Board exams based on rote learning in grade eight but will write exams approved by CBSE in grade ten at New Era Secondary School (NESS), an Auroville-run CBSE high school for village children. For those children who want to go to a State Board high school instead of continuing the CBSE curriculum at NESS, Aikiyam School is entitled by CBSE to give a recognised school leaving certificate.
Three years ago, thanks to the donation of a good friend, the school was able to build its own kitchen and dining space. Last year, with a further donation for seed money and a grant from the German Government, we have been able to construct a new building which houses a library, a science lab, a special needs classroom, and an eighth grade classroom, as the previous eighth grade will be turned into an art room. This year with further help from the German Government, we will renovate our original UFO buildings, and there are future plans to replace one of our more dilapidated classroom buildings.