Digantar was initially funded privately by a local business family (John and Faith Singh of Anokhi Pvt Ltd), who were not very satisfied with the present educational scenario and wanted a more “real” approach towards education for their children. They wanted a school where the children could learn at their own pace and where education would mean education in its true sense, rather than just a process that one goes through in life in order to obtain a few degrees.
The couple came across a unique school in rural Karnataka, run by an avant-garde British educationist David Horsburgh. Neel Bagh, the school run by David, was exactly what the couple had been looking for except for a slight glitch. The school took in only local children. Horsburgh proposed to train the teachers if the couple wished to start a school of their own. Digantar was conceived then. Its name was coined by its two teachers, Rohit Dhankar and Reena Das, who trained under David Horsburgh and started this venture in alternative education. For a decade, this school functioned with the help of the financial aid provided by the couple and David. The school by this time had about 24 children consisting of various age groups.
During these 10 years, the teachers got ample opportunity to understand and study the principles and the practical aspects of primary education. Along with working in the school, they strived hard to understand the meaning of education and its relevance in the society. This effort initiated dialogues with a number of people and organizations that were also working in the field of education. Gradually, inculcated in the founding ideas of the school, a more wholesome approach to primary education started taking shape.
In 1986, Digantar felt the need to run as an independent organisation running the schools rather than dependent on any individual or family for funding. It was then decided to run the school in a rural area so that the children deprived of quality education could benefit. After comprehensive planning, Digantar took the shape of an organization and got registered under the name of Digantar Shiksha Evam Khelkud Samiti in 1988. The villages and hamlets in the south-eastern corner of Jaipur were chosen as the area of functioning and the land for the main campus was donated by Mr John Singh.
Today, Digantar has two schools located at Bhawgarh Bandhya and Kho Rebariyan. Digantar also has a strong and experienced academic team, its area of work has been quite vast including reflections on numerous fundamental issues, academic research, teacher training, academic workshops, developing teaching material etc. Apart from Digantar Vidyalay, Shiksha Vimarsh and Foundations of Education are two of our projects that focus of different aspects of education.