Redevelopment of a more-than-a-century-old vocational higher secondary school for girls in Kerala has become a case study on ‘venture philanthropy’ at a university in Glasgow, the UK.

Venture philanthropy is a term coined half a century ago by John D Rockefeller III, who described it as “an adventurous approach to funding unpopular social causes.”

Case study

Sreevas Sahasranamam, a Chancellor’s Fellow at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, is taking up the case of the 120-year-old Government Vocational Higher Secondary School for Girls at Nadakkavu in Kozhikode.

Titled ‘Faizal & Shabana Foundation: A Venture Philanthropic Approach to Education’, it will also be taught in some of the classes on corporate entrepreneurship at the same university.

The Foundation has, in collaboration with the Government of Kerala, developed PRISM (Promoting regional schools to international standards through multiple interventions) programme to improve standards of schools.

Flagship project

The Nadakkavu school is the flagship project taken up as part of this programme, a spokesman for the Foundation said.

It covers the refurbishment of the school through large philanthropic investments by the Foundation, and how it has become a unique case implemented within the government educational context.

It also highlights how a private philanthropic organisation has gone about executing a school project in spite of the several challenges in scaling up the redevelopment model to other government schools, the spokesman said.

The holistic makeover included a complete transformation in the built environment of the school.