Sir V. V. Bhat
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When we look back at the life and times of Mr. V. V. Bhat, we are justifiably filled with fond reminiscing and applause for his persona that influenced several lives and still continues to do so. His loss is felt not just by his family and close friends, but his large extended family as well. By his extended family, we mean the thousands of students, teachers and other staff members of the illustrious Children’s Academy Group of Schools, of which Mr. V. V. Bhat was the founder-principal. His passing away on 15 August, 2001, left an irreparable void in not only the Children’s Academy Group of Schools, but in the world of education on the whole.

It takes great nobility of mind and unflinching determination to build any educational institution. That Mr. V. V. Bhat could build an institution that is consistently ranked among the top schools of / in the country speaks volumes of his dedication and lofty ideals. He started a rivulet in 1970 which has today spawned into a large river, comprising of three esteemed schools, spreading its waters of education to around 10,000 students.

Mr. V. V. Bhat was born in a family of educationists near Udupi in Mangalore, Karnataka, in 1930. He studied in the Kadiyali School, which was owned by his family—a family of educationists. He completed his graduation and post-graduation from the University of Mangalore. Then he went on to earn his qualifications as Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Oriental Learning. On completing his education, he worked as a teacher and then as a headmaster in his own school in Udupi.

He moved on to Mumbai in 1958, where he joined the NKES School in Matunga as an Assistant Teacher. Further, he served as the principal of the Kannada Night High School. In 1965 he began service as an Inspector of Education for private primary schools with the BMC. It was while inspecting various schools of the city that he became aware of the lacunae in the city’s educational institutions. His single-minded approach now was to launch a school that would address all these shortcomings.

Mr. V. V. Bhat laid the foundation of the Children’s Academy Group of Schools with a single school in Malad East in 1970. This was quite a modest institution, functioning out of just a few rented shops in the premises of Ishwar Bhavan, a residential building. Though this was a harrowing time for him, as he had to look into every aspect of the school, his sincerity and genuineness helped him to build a very faithful team of talented teachers who served to carry his dream ahead.

Finding a plot for the school was an uphill task. The monetary aspect notwithstanding, it was acquiring the municipal permission that proved to be the most daunting aspect. It took him 6 years of persistent effort to secure the permission, and even those 6 years of waiting were mired by impediments like the demolition of his makeshift school structure by the BMC.

It took only a little while for the educationally-conscious people of Malad to accept the enhanced pattern of education that Children’s Academy had ushered in. The growing demand from the local and proximate population resulted in the formation of the first branch of Children’s Academy. This was set up Ashok Nagar, Kandivali East, and then another branch which was launched posthumously at Asha Nagar (Thakur Complex, Kandivali East).

Today, Mr. V. V. Bhat is surely smiling when he looks down from the heavens to see such a sprawling, well-equipped institution that outshines most other schools within the city. We have not reached the finishing post yet, but surely we are leagues ahead of most of the pack.

Though he retired from active work in June 1990, Mr. V. V. Bhat never hung up his boots. He kept planning various things for the improvement of his schools and his students. The Kaman Village plot acquired by him at Vasai was a part of these efforts. He erected the Children’s Campsite here, a place full of nature’s bounty for the students of the school to unwind. He planted various saplings here, doing his bit for environmental conservation.

We still have a lot of ground to cover to fulfill Mr. V. V. Bhat’s dream. These last four decades of the academy and its immense growth is just a drop in the ocean of educational excellence that Mr. V. V. Bhat had envisioned and strove for all through his memorable life.

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