Repeated reports in a newspaper brought out by school students shut down a village liquor shop
A school principal is doing all he can to encourage students to ask questions, get curious about science and speak out against social ills in a fortnightly newspaper they bring out. Ninety per cent of the students at the government Purva Madhyamik Vidyalaya in Sitapur are girls.
Virendra Singh 22 May 2023 10:04 AM GMT
Balmitra, a newspaper brought out by his students is something that school principal Yogendra Kumar Pandey is most proud of.
Once a fortnight, students of the government school Purva Madhyamik Vidyalaya in Jamaitpur village in Khairabad block, Sitapur district, publish a newspaper that is already 96 issues old.
The student reporters and editors sit down and handwrite the news and features that go into the newspaper.
“They put their thoughts, dreams and opinions about things that affect them, and air their grievances through this platform. While the newspaper carries bits about what is happening in the world, it also reports on our immediate surroundings, our village,” the 51-year-old principal, told Gaon Connection.
Muskan, a class eight student who is one of the reporters for Balmitra said, “We publish reports on things that are happening in our village. We reported about a liquor store in the village repeatedly, and as a consequence of that it was closed down,” she said with pride.
Building character and curiosity
Yogendra Kumar Pandey joined the school as a teacher in 2011. “When I joined, there was hardly any infrastructure or learning happening here. And there were only about 225 students enrolled in school. Today we have 530 children enrolled,” Pandey said. There are 10 teachers, two Shiksha Mitras and two Anudeshak [instructors] teaching classes one to eight in the school.
One of the first things Pandey did along with his staff was spruce up the premises. Once that was done, the focusshifted to how to provide the best kind of education to the students. Laboratories were set up, libraries were stocked, sports equipment was bought and music was encouraged.
“We have a well-stocked library now. It has not just books to enhance the learning of the students, but also those that entertain them. Children borrow these books and take them home to read,” Pandey said with pride.
In order to pique the interest of the students in science, a science laboratory was set up in the school. “Children are introduced to science and scientific concepts in an interesting interactive way,” Pandey said.
The pride of place in the laboratory is occupied by a microscope that allows the students to see for themselves micro organisms, cell structure etc.
“We also have a telescope too and the students can now observe the stars and planets through it,” he added.
Music fills the corridors of the school as it is a big part of student life. “We are taught to play the dholak, the manjira and the harmonium, besides singing,” Julie, a class seven student, told Gaon Connection.
“The Meena Manch is extremely active at our school,” said Pandey. Meena Manch is a platform for girls in schools that was instituted by the Uttar Pradesh government in 2002.
The initiative gives young girls an opportunity and a platform to speak openly, encourages girls to attend regular schools and remain vigilant towards gender-based discrimination, and be aware of child rights, gender equality and so on.
“Members of the Meena Manch go out to the village and talk to other girl children. We spread awareness about many issues, including our rights and health,” Sunita, a student of class eight, told Gaon Connection. “There are students from even other villages who are studying in private schools who are now wanting to join our school,” she added.