Sakhi Nitin Anita, 20, took the radical decision of taking a break from studies right after Class 7 in 2004. During this time, she ran a library for neighbourhood children, taught English to some children and even started a film club.
Anita now helps promote the Year On campaign, which was launched by Shikshantar, an Udaipur-based organisation, to encourage young people to take a break during their education.
“We have a network of people who have walked out, not drop-ped out,” said Anita. “We encourage more people to take time off, to give them time to think of what they want to do.”
The campaign has backing from schools such as the Mahin-dra World College in Pune, the Riverside School in Ahmedabad and Valley School in Bangalore.
“We have called it ‘Year On’ to challenge the common misperception that students waste a year if they take a break. So rather than take a year off, we suggest taking a year on,” reads the mission statement for the campaign.
In 2010, Savyasachi Anju Prabir took a break from studies for a year after his Class 10. Prabir, 17, travelled across the country, interned with Down To Earth magazine and attended film and theatre workshops. “I learnt much more than I would have in college,” he said. Prabir is now going to sit for his exams through the National Institute of Open Schooling after enrolling at Swaraj University, where students learn through a two-year self-styled course.