Wooden desks and a blackboard, teachers who specialize on certain subjects, an institution that is fully equipped to help the youth learn and live a disciplined lifestyle—that’s what students are supposed to find in schools.
But little do we know that there are a bunch of schools around the world that don’t follow our notions on how a school should be. Some teach weird subjects, like a school that teaches students how to be a good prostitute and another that simply allows its students to choose which subject they want to learn.
Here are some of the world’s nontraditional schools.
1. Gulu Elementary School, China
In the mountainous Hanyuan County in China, a little village named Gulu has a school. The school isn’t really weird, but we included it on the list because of how hard and treacherous it is for students to go to school. Students have to pass the Luoma Way to get to their everyday destination. The way is filled with zigzag turns, narrow passages between rock walls, and rickety bridges. The school was opened in the late 1980s, and only one teacher, Shen Qijun, teaches there. Today, the school just recently added a toilet and basketball court.
2. The Train Platform Schools, India
Inderjit Khurana, a teacher from Orrisa, always sees kids begging instead of going to school. Taking pity, she founded the Train Platform School in 1985. Because it was impossible for her to send all the kids to school, she decided to use her profession as an educator and teach the kids right there in the platforms. She followed the form of Ruchika School Social Service Organization, and by now, her school educates 4,000 students. Hundreds of children would gather at the train stops to learn how to read and write.
3. The Boat Schools, Bangladesh
Floods are common in Bangladesh. This annual flooding causes many problems in the country, including access to clean water, electricity, and education. Thanks to the initiative of a nonprofit organization Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, children are able to get education. The organization built houses, health care centers, and schools that float. At present, the group has a hundred boat schools. Students will no longer be troubled on how to get to school because the boat school will pick up the children from their homes. The boat school was formed in 2002, and so far, about 70,000 students have benefited from this noble idea.
4. Harvey Milk High School, New York
This school is named after Harvey Milk, a famous gay right activist and politician. It is very special because it is built for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender who are often being discriminated in regular schools. Harvey Milk High School also accepts straight students, claiming they are open for all and does not promote sexual discrimination. Even if the school constantly receives criticism and threats from anti-gay community, it is quite successful. As a proof of its success, the New York–based school started to grant high-school diploma.
5. A School That Teaches the Art of Prostitution, Spain
Spain is one of the few countries where prostitution is legal. If you are surprised by this fact, you’ll be more surprised to know that there are schools in the country that teach the practical arts of the profession. One of these schools is located in Valencia.
The school is named Trabajo Ya, which means “work now.” The school offers instant employment for both male and female students. Lessons in the school include the history of prostitution and business skills. A two-hour practical skill session is done daily. Students are also taught about the tricks of sex toys and, of course, the Kama Sutra.
6. The School of the Future, Philadelphia
This school is pretty young. It was opened in 2006. No books are found in the school; students work and read from computers. Teachers teach on smart-computerized boards, and students are taught mathematics with OneNote. Even the lockers and IDs are hi-tech. The lockers have digital locks that can be opened by flashing the ID cards.
7. Witch School, Massachusetts
For people who want to become witches, the Witch School in Salem, Massachusetts, is the school for you. The school teaches witchcraft for budding witches. It also offers online classes. The Witch School was originally located in Roseville, Chicago, before moving to Salem. It boasts its more than 40,000 students.
8. Abo Elementary School, An Underground School in the United States
In Artesia, New Mexico, one can find the United States’ first underground school. The school named Abo Elementary School was completed in 1962. The place was never utilized as a bomb shelter, but it is equipped with advanced fallout shelter equipment. In 1999, the school was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
9. Brooklyn Free School, United States
As its name suggests, Brroklyn Free School promotes independent studies. It is divided into two sections that are classified by age. Age group of 11 to 18 years belongs to the upper class, and the lower class is for the students aged from 4 to 11 years. Students can go anywhere in the school. they can enter classes of their choice and stay there for as long as they wish. Detractors criticize the school for lacking any form of curriculum.
10. Dongzhong Mid-Cave Primary School, China
In China, there is a school located in caves. The Dongzhong (meaning “in caves”) Mid-Cave Primary School is located in one of the poorest area in China—the Guizhou province. The community lacked resources but wanted to have a school for their children. They used the caves in the area as classrooms. Founded in 1984, the school started with only eight teachers and 186 students. After 23 years of operation, the Chinese authorities closed the school because they fear that China will become a “society of cavemen.”