An open education model for collaborative rural students: The Tamarind Tree School – Maharashtra

A school in India defies the traditional education model

Michelle Chawla Feed,, 5 January 2018

The Tamarind Tree School uses an open education model to offer collaborative, innovative learning solutions to rural students. | Read the full story here >>

Located in a sleepy village just two hours away from the bustling metropolis of Mumbai is a school that defies traditional educational models by collaboratively owning, building, and sharing knowledge and technology. […]

The Tamarind Tree School, located in Dahanu Taluka, Maharashtra, India, is an experiment in open education. Open education is a philosophy about how people produce, share, and build on knowledge and technology, advocating a world in which education is for social good, and everyone has equal opportunity and access to education, training, and knowledge. […]

The curriculum hosted at My Big Campus is derived from the National Council of Educational Research and Training in New Delhi. Students enjoy answering quizzes, commenting on images and blogs, creating digital art, and more. Courses are created contextually, grading can be done online, and students can learn at their own pace.

4. E-library
Tamarind Tree also has a facility where any student with a digital device can read books, articles, or news reports from a collection of more than 3,000 resources hosted on the school’s e-library server.

About the author

Michelle Chawla – Michelle lives on a chikoo farm in a village in Dahanu, India from where she runs the Tamarind Tree School. Along with her team she has managed to create a space that challenges the conventional notions of education, technology and prejudices about rural communities by bringing in open source technologies. She works and manages a small team of people at Tamarind Tree who are bound by their desire to see an equitable and just society. Michelle is also a Moodler.



At Tamarind Tree, we believe in collaborative learning and knowledge building.  Students, teachers and everyone on our campus is the learning community – engaging with each other, with the spaces around us, observing, watching, discussing, debating and living life. | Learn more >>

Source: A school in India defies the traditional education model
Date accessed: 14 April 2018

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ORAL HISTORY | Read the full story here >>

Modern constructs of linear time become superfluous in interactions with the tribal communities of western India. For the Warlis, Koknas, Malhar Kolis, Katkaris scattered acrosss the foothills of the Sahyadari range in north west Maharashtra, life is one continuous spiral beginning with the onset of the monsoons and the planting of rice, to reach a crescendo with harvest. Life and death are part of an eternal continuum deeply linked with nature.  Death came upon man because he humilated Mother Earth, they say.  

Communities with a legacy of exploitation and cultural subjugation, the Warlis currently living in Dahanu, Jawahar, Mokhada, Talaseri, Dadra Nagarhaveli upto the south of the Dangs district in Gujarat, have no recorded history of their own. With a chequered history of colonisation by the Portuguese, the Marathas and the British, the Warli identity has inevitably been constructed by the ‘outsider’.   

The Tribal Worldview 
For the Warlis, recollections of their past and interpretations of the present continue to be passed down through oral traditions. A vibrant oral culture is expressed in their language and symbols, myths and rituals, legends and sagas. A tongue and cheek folklore recited by the Warli village story teller, (the “thalawala”)  warns of the greedy Parsi landlord and his ways. The myth of creation and of death reveals a deep reverence for nature.  […]

Source: Oral History,


Date visited: 21 February 2019

See also

Adivasi Academy & Museum of Adivasi Voice at Tejgadh | Lecture “A View of Higher Education in India”

Appropriate education for Adivasi children – the Vidyodaya School model at Gudalur

eBook | Background guide

Childhood | Children’s books | Childrens rights: UNICEF India | Safe search

eJournal | Writing and teaching Santali in different alphabets: A success story calling for a stronger sense of self-confidence

People’s Linguistic Survey of India | Volumes (PLSI) |

Games and leisure time

Multi-lingual education | Residential school | Ekalavya

Multilingual education is a pillar of intergenerational learning – Unesco

Santali education | Teaching Santal children by Boro Baski

Storytelling | Success story

Tagore and rural culture

Unesco | Unicef | Unicef India | United Nations

United Nations International Days and Weeks

Video | “Nations don’t make us human – languages make us human”: Ganesh Devy

Women | Safe search | President Droupadi Murmu on women’s empowerment

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