Ekal had presented solutions to the many issues surfaced in the survey of 1986. They tackled the lack of interest in education by introducing the Joyful Learning system which is a Non-Formal Method of Teaching. In terms of economic barriers, Ekal follows a low-cost model. The Ekal school schedules are based on convenient hours recommended by Gram Samiti, allowing time to children for household economic activities and domestic chores to be completed. Lastly, Ekal brings the schools and teachers directly to the villages, overcoming the issue of inaccessible schools.
Despite the increase in rural children attending school after the RTE passed, there continued to be needed for Ekal schools since government schools were not well run. The teacher’s absenteeism and the quality of classroom teaching were deeply disappointing issues. In 2013, Ekal schools were the only source of education in approximately 20% of the villages in which they operated.
The story of Ekal is embedded deep in the history formatting different layers. New intellectuals endowed with social dreams unleashed the first layer. Late Dr. Rakesh Popli (Indian Nuclear Physicist), Dr. Rajneesh Arora, Dr. Mahesh Sharma from IIT and Mr. Ashok Bhagat from BHU visited Bishunpur in Gumla district (presently in Jharkhand) in the year 1983 and conducted a situational analysis of these tribal areas. Their study identified Education, Health Care, Poverty and Skill Development as the key issues to be addressed to develop the tribal areas. Dr. Rakesh Popli and Dr. Rajneesh Arora did some initial work on education models for rural and tribal communication, which laid the foundation of the experiment of Single Teacher Schools.
In 1985, Shri Shyam Ji Gupta a social activist and visionary had initiated a plan in the Phoolbani district of Orissa for the development of tribal society called the “Phoolbani district up-gradation project”, under this project night schools were running in 400 villages where children came along with adult villagers. In order to implement the program better and to get support from cities, many affluent families from Kolkata motivated by Sri Shyam Ji went to the Phoolbani district as part of the Vanyatra. While returning from the journey it was decided that a group may be formed which would bring out the realities and problems of these tribal societies and make the urban people aware of them who are ignorant of this reality. Thus “Friends of Tribals Society” was founded as a response to bridge the gap between tribals and urban citizens of India, in Kolkata in 1989.
In this continuation, Bharat Lok Shiksha Parishad (BLSP) was founded in Delhi in the year 2000 to spread the Ekal Vidyalaya Movement in the Northern part of the country. BLSP’s spread is in Utter Pradesh, Himachal, Uttarakhand, and Jammu.
BLSP is currently running 16170 Ekal Vidyalayas in 16170 villages of the above-said states. The direct intervention of BLSP involves monitoring of Ekal schemes in remote tribal/rural areas, resource management through Donor cultivation, quality updating by regular supervision, periodical evaluation of the work and training of Ekal Teachers and volunteers. Besides this BLSP has opened its branches (Chapters) in all the states to Procure and generate resources and urban volunteers.
Hence, there are chapters in Varanasi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Jammu, Moradabad, South Delhi, North Delhi, West Delhi, East Delhi, Central Delhi, C.S.R, Gurugram, and Faridabad.
These chapters are organizing fundraising programs, cultivation of urban volunteers to support administration and Ekal works. The chapter committee members have a direct intervention with Gram Sangathan and Sevavrati Volunteers also through various meetings.
Today BLSP as the front-runner organization of the Ekal Vidyalaya Movement stands on the strong foundation build by many social leaders, business magnets and Pioneers of Social activism. The contribution of Sh. Laxmi Goel, Sh. S.N. Bandhu, Sh. Subhash Aggarwal, Sh. Om Prakash Singhal, Sh. G.D. Goel, Sh. Naresh Kumar, Sh. Naresh Jain, Prof. Manjushree, Sh. Ramesh Kanodia And Sh. Ashwani Aggarwal is worth noting.
The concept of “One Teacher School” was conceived in Gumla (Jharkhand) in June 1986 in a seminar to find out the solution to the problem of illiteracy in tribal villages. Sh. Bhau Rao Devras a renowned social activist had outlined the concept of One Teacher School. Dr. Rakesh Popli helped in refining the concept and wrote the Book “Khele Kude Nache Gaye” about the non-formal method of teaching, for the pioneering schools that were established among the tribal later on.
The same year, Late Sh. Madan Lal Agarwala, an eminent industrialist who owned coal mines in and around Dhanbad, decided to put this idea of Shri Bhau Rao in practice and set the stage for setting up of first 60 Ekal Vidyalayas (One Teacher Schools) in Dhanbad. This was the first successful experiment of Ekal Vidyalaya by Late Sh. Madan Lal Aggarwala.
This humble initiative of Ekal Vidyalaya got wings when Sh. Shyam Gupt Ji became the Master Architect of the whole Ekal System in 1989-90 under the banner of Friends of Tribals Society. With his tremendous organizational capacity and unparalleled imaginative and analytical power, he translated a simple Ekal Vidyalaya into a magnanimous global movement of Bharat in the span of 26 years.
Since then Sh. Shyam Gupt Ji, the farsighted visionary has been the constant source of inspiration and guidance for the entire Ekal Movement Pariwar and its multifaceted ventures.
The significance of their contribution is multifold. The Tremendous spirit of Volunteerism has been driving force with which these eminent personalities dedicated their Tan – Man – Dhan to the noble cause of the Ekal Movement.