“It is nothing extraordinary that I’ve done. Every teacher should be able to do this” — Presidential awardee Subhash Yadav
Subhash Yadav, a national award winning teacher from Madhya Pradesh, shares his journey as an educator where he has transformed not one but two schools in far-flung villages of Dhar district, from being derelict and non-functional to highly respected and popular educational institutions.
Satish Malviya 15 April 2023 9:36 AM GMT
Dhar, Madhya Pradesh
Subhash Yadav is a teacher and has been teaching for nearly 25 years. At present he teaches at Kagdipura village school in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh.
Yadav was inspired by his teacher father to become a teacher himself. “When I would go out with my father, I observed how people of the village (Nalchha village, Dhar district) would come up to him, talk to him respectfully and with so much love,” Yadav told Gaon Connection. “I decided then that I would grow up and become a teacher myself,” he said.
Those impressions remained with Yadav, and despite the early demise of his father, when he was around nine years old, and the responsibilities of looking after his paralysed mother, he never let go of that dream. He also had an older brother.
Yadav worked as a daily wage labourer in order to continue studying, till his older brother got a job. When he was in first year of BA, in 1987, he was selected into the Border Security Force. But, the call of teaching was so strong that he quit after the initial training there. He completed his BA.
His life as a teacher began in July 1990 when Yadav joined as an assistant teacher at the government primary school in Aali village in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. In 1993, he went on to do his Masters in Hindi.
"The school was in a terrible state. Not a single child passed the class five exams. While there were 65 children registered with the school, only 15 or so came to class regularly,” Yadav recalled.
According to Yadav, even the teachers were irregular, the walls were dripping damp, the ceilings were damaged, floors broken. “I was horrified. No wonder parents did not want to send their children to this school. I told the senior teacher there and he just shrugged it off saying that is how it was,” Yadav said.
But, slowly, with the help of the education department in the district, changes began to take place.
“I created learning corners in the classrooms, each corner for a different subject. For example, the geography corner had maps and globes and the planets, while the science corner had images and objects related to science,” he explained. The impenetrable darkness of the classrooms began to emit the light of learning, Yadav smiled.
Gradually, the word about the changes in the school spread in the village and the parents began to send their children to school more regularly.
“Not just our village, even children from nearby villages sought admission to our school, and the strength went up to 350 students, and I ensured that 54 children from our school got admission into Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya,” Yadav said.
In 2012, after spending nearly 13 years in the school, Yadav was posted to a school in the tribal dominated Kagdipura village, in Dhar district, about 10 kms away from Aali. And it was like a replay of what he had experienced at Aali when he had first joined there.
"It was exactly like how the school at Aali was. People came and went from the school as they pleased, the premises were used to tie up cattle, use the area to dry cow dung, and there were so many encroachments into the school. The approach to the school was also awful,” Yadav said.
There was just one classroom at the school where all 79 children sat together, and none of them were inclined to learn anything, he said. But, not the one to give up, just as he had with the school at Aali, Yadav decided to make things work.
With the help of the senior teachers and officials, he cleaned up the premises and extended the school building. “I brought into play all the experience I had had at Aali and made the classrooms as attractive and inviting as possible both for the students and the teachers,” Yadav said. The focus was on the all round development of the children, he said.
It took Yadav five years to bring about changes in the school environment.
“There were only a handful of children initially. And, I was determined to bring in more students. The village had those children who were of school-going age yet did not join school, then there were children who had dropped out as they could not manage studies due to constraints at home, and then there were those who went out of the village elsewhere, to pursue education, even though there was this school in their own village,” Yadav said.
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Partnering with parents
In order to change that, Yadav first began a drive to meet the parents of the children. “We visited their homes, spoke to their parents and won their trust. We invited them to visit our school and observe how we taught children there and what facilities we were providing our students. We told them that after that they could decide whether they should admit their children in our school or not,” Yadav said.
The school now boasts of gardens where the children can play and smart classes with screens where teaching and learning has become more attractive. “Even after the final bell has rung, the children hang around the school, they like it so much here now,” the headmaster smiled.
There are more than 350 children and eight classrooms now, a far cry from the 79 students huddled inside a single classroom in 2012, he added.
Also Read: Teacher’s Diary: Picking peas in the field with students helped a teacher bring village kids to school
Praises pour in
The transformation of the school became a talking point of the village. “I could have sent both my daughters to an expensive school in Indore, but I choose to admit them to this school because of the excellent education provided by Subhash Yadav,” Asutosh Jain who is a manager of a Trust in Kagdipura, told Gaon Connection.
Not just his daughters, there are children from other villages who are coming here to study. And, teachers from other schools come here often to get advice from Yadav, Jain said.
Single mother Radhabai Dabar who belongs to the tribal community said her three children all studied in ‘Subhash ji’s’ school.
“My older daughter wouldn’t even read. But ever since Subhash Ji came into the school, she began to take interest in studies. She is now studying in class 8 at Kanya Shiksha Parisar, Tirla,” the daily wage labourer, told Gaon Connection.
On September 5, 2017, Subhash Yadav was awarded the presidential award for his outstanding contribution to education.
In his parting words, Yadav said, “It is nothing extraordinary that I have done here. Every educator should be able to do this.”