Open doors: affordable education where it is scarce in South Asia
Allied Model School still a blessing to the community as it turns 40.
By John Stuart,
Asie du Sud
Since its humble beginnings more than four decades ago in this South Asian city, Allied Model School (AMS) has been about opportunity. What started from the vision of a local believer has transformed into a community where students and teachers receive education and training that is truly bettering lives. Under the management of SIM since 2003, about 600 students and staff are currently part of the AMS family.
There are few options for a good education in this part of South Asia; many lower-income families spend nearly all their income on their children’s studies. AMS was established to provide an affordable Christian education in these communities.
It’s a place where students, regardless of their religious background, benefit from a solid education in a safe environment. For students from a Christian background, the school has tremendous spiritual influence, as these students receive practical Bible teaching. This education is especially valuable for students whose families don’t attend church regularly.
Building up and mentoring teachers is also one of AMS's ministries; many teachers at AMS start with little experience but gain training and skills while at AMS - Photo courtesy of Allied Model School.
For the 50 percent of students who are Muslim, the school is still seen as an acceptable learning space by their parents. Even if the school is Christian in its values, the school takes special care to instill an environment of respect and care.
“AMS is forming a connection with the local community,” says Cath, Project Manager of AMS. “This is a valuable aspect of its ministry. Placed in the middle of a local neighborhood, there are many connections between staff, missionaries and local people. This has already provided some significant opportunities.”
In 2011 the school was completely rebuilt with improved facilities. AMS offers scholarships to help students from poorer families and the school is committed to providing helpful opportunities to students and teachers alike.
Many of the teachers have little teaching experience when they start, so AMS is a place for them to receive training, practice their teaching skills and discover what teaching style best suits them. As they become more experienced teachers, many teachers been able to secure higher-paying jobs in other nearby schools. Initially, this upward mobility was seen as a challenge; after all, when teachers left for better-paying jobs, they left teaching gaps AMS had to fill. But the administration soon realized that this was part of its ministry — helping their teachers secure better opportunities would only further benefit their families and feed back into their communities.
“In just a few years the school has had new premises, increased in the number of students and staff, and has successfully obtained affiliation to the local examination board ” Cath says, meaning the school has been certified by the government to be an official school.
Since its humble beginnings 40 years ago, AMS has been concerned with bettering students’ lives and providing a Christian education. Today the school is thriving and remains true to its roots, making a difference in the region academically and spiritually.
Interested in serving with Allied Model School?
AMS is in need of short-term overseas teachers who can teach and help train the local teachers. The school also needs a long-term principal to fill an ongoing gap (the interim principal has been working for four years). If you are interested in an opportunity to serve in a cross-cultural school in South Asia, please get in touch with SIM here.