National Education Society and Saraswathi Vidya Bhavan Education Group of 69 Institutions (NES-SVB Group) bear eloquent testimony to the power of one visionary, Dr. R. Varadarajan who has been working with single minded focus and farsight. He deserves credit for creating access to quality, value-based education for transforming some of the far-ﬂung suburban areas of Mumbai and Thane Districts. The seeds of NES were sown in 1963 with 7 students enrolling for learning with this young visionary and entrepreneurial teacher in his humble 10 by 10 slum home in Bhandup, then an area known more as a settlement for blue collar workers. Then a young man in his late teens, he had just come to Mumbai from Thanjavur with only the SSLC qualiﬁcation, taking up some job in a private limited company.
Thus, this tiny school became the ﬁrst school to write his tryst with education. Initially there was opposition and hurdles in the path but with his steel resolve, keen passion for education and determination he forged ahead, undaunted, plodding on going door-to-door, collecting funds. The beneﬁts of telecommunications and social media did not exist then. He set milestones for himself in institution building so that the children in the school could have a well laid route for their educational journey. Thus came the ﬁrst school building to house the Primary and Secondary school, followed by a Junior College. His efforts bore fruit ﬁrst when the NES Primary School was declared Best School by the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai. This provided a great impetus and as the Institutions grew, so did the achievements – by the school, students and the Founder. The SSC students raised the bar through 100% passing results. Yet another feather in the cap -Merit Ranks scored by NES students. He did not rest on his laurels, and worked harder for expansion.
In the year 1983, a sister trust was formed – Saraswathi Vidya Bhavan to offer professional education and education for the underprivileged. This educational trust was placed under the care of Mrs. Saraswathi Varadarajan. This trust established 3 Kindergarten schools followed by Primary and Secondary Schools. Special mention may be made here of SVB’s school in Dharavi slum locality where the children had no school in the neighbourhood and the school in a remote suburb on the outskirts of the city – Dombivli – excluded from growth due to lack of educational facilities. A delegation of American education experts has offered their support for the Dharavi school in the slum. The school at rural Dombivli has awakened the villagers to the value of education.
In 1993, the SVB Trust established a College of Pharmacy, followed by a College of Education (B.Ed.), D.I.Ed., E.C.C.Ed. etc. a well-equipped I.T. Centre and a Sports School. The trust has invested in a vast plot of land at Dombivli / Dawadi for a Self-Financed University with world class courses and infrastructure. This University is now shaping up and the Foundation Stone would be laid in 2019.
The Founder’s emphasis on quality in education led to the National Centre for R & D in Education, Science and Technology – a ﬁrst of its kind in India’s private sector. This R & D Centre established at the behest of Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham has been motivating educators to orient themselves towards innovative teaching. This Centre has instituted special awards to recognise teachers and celebrities who walk the extra mile in their jobs and careers and make an impact. The National Award and National Eminence Awards Committee scours different corners of the country to identify winners. The R&D Centre has brought about a sea-change in the results of all academic institutions, where the ﬁndings and recommendations have been implemented.
Not content with achievements so far, the Founder took on a special research to study changes in the educational systems prevailing in different countries. He resolved that International Baccalaureate (IB) and Cambridge (CAIE) education were the next wave in school education. Thus, the ﬁrst IB World School was set up in 2004-2005 along with the almost parallel curriculum of Cambridge (CAIE). This school has carved its niche, with the students topping at the country as well as at world level, besides creating excellent records in sports and several other novel initiatives like the World Peace Congress, Entrepreneurship, Journalism, Value Education, the annual International Science and Technology Festival and more.
Today, NES-SVB Education Group stands tall, with a strong team of Management and teachers, deeply committed to their 69 Institutions. In addition to the University, there is on the anvil, a professional institute for Vocational Diploma/Degree College in Dharavi slum adjacent to the existing school in Dharavi to cater to the economic needs of the slum, including a National Centre for Skill Development for blue collar workers and housekeeping helpers in collaboration with Indian Merchants’ Chamber under the auspices of National Skill Development Council, Govt. of Indi