School in India Lets Kids Pay Tuition By Recycling Plastic

With the aim of encouraging poor parents to send their children to school instead of stone quarries, a small school for underprivileged students in India began accepting plastic waste as school fees.

Akshar Forum, a school located in the Indian village of Pamohi in Guwahati, recently implemented the new policy in accordance with a recycling program it started six months ago.

The school was co-founded in 2016 by Parmita Sharma and Mazin Mukhtar with the objective of training students to “earn a livelihood by being responsible to the government.”

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The school has since been offering unconventional education that strives to help students explore their own creativity, Homegrown reports.

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Without restricting students with a fixed curriculum, Akshar Forum allows students to hone their personal skills and talents in their own capacities. 

According to Akshar Vice President Priyongsu Borthakur, the school began collecting dry plastic waste from households in the vicinity six months ago to kickstart a recycling program that involved students collecting and segregating the garbage.

“The idea is to train students in recognizing how to live an eco-friendly life,” Borthakur was quoted as saying. “The entire recycling program is carried out by the students, from start to finish.”

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Akshar students were tasked with picking up plastic waste from nearby houses, segregating them and then repurposing the plastics in different ways.

Applying the plastic waste collection strategy to student households, the school implemented the idea of accepting nothing but dry plastic waste from students as fees.

“I still remember how our classrooms would be filled with toxic fumes every time someone in the nearby areas would burn plastics,” co-founder Parmita Sarma told Better India. “Here it was a norm to burn waste plastic to keep warm. We wanted to change that and so started to encourage our students to bring their plastic waste as school fees.”

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Not only did the new policy solve the waste disposal issues of the small village, but it also helped encourage more students to join the school.

Recycling household plastic waste also cultivates a sense of environmental awareness among the students.

Featured Image via Instagram / Akshar Foundation (Left, Right)

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