Of Smart Classrooms, News Corner and Judo Medals
From having just 44 children in 2016, the government primary school in Bhagesar village in Mirzapur district has emerged as a centre of excellence. Ravikanth Dwivedi, who joined the school as a teacher and is now its principal, tells Gaon Connection about the upward trajectory of the village school.
Brijendra Dubey 27 April 2023 10:53 AM GMT
Bhagesar (Mirzapur), Uttar Pradesh
Kalpana Chawla, Sachin Tendulkar, Mother Teresa and Bhagat Singh are now familiar names amongst the tribal children of Bhagesar village. Their student groups in the Government Primary School, in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh, are named after these personalities.
Making groups and giving them the names of these heroes of Indian history was the idea of Ravikanth Dwivedi, the school principal.
“We have devised a new way to make the classroom work more efficiently. We divide the classes into groups and each group has a leader and an assistant leader, both students, who coordinate with the teachers,” Ravikanth Dwivedi told Gaon Connection.
“The leaders let the teachers know if any child is absent in their group after which the teacher calls up the home of the absentee and finds out why. This has led to a significant decrease in absenteeism in our school,” Dwivedi explained.
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The school also offers its students the best of education with the help of technology. Of the eight classrooms in the school five of them are smart classrooms with projectors, LED screens and computers.
Besides academics, the children are encouraged to take part in a host of extra curricular activities. “We have student parliaments, we have an active cricket team and a very active judo and taekwondo team too. The school won a Bronze Medal in the recently held state level Judo competition last month in March,” the proud teacher said.
The bronze medal in Judo was won by 11-year-old student Shivaji Prajapati. “On March 11, I participated in the state level Judo competition held at Lucknow. I won the first round effortlessly, but in the final round, I could not win,” he told Gaon Connection. He was nevertheless pleased with the medal, he said.
Scripting a transformation
Things now are very different from when Dwivedi was appointed as a teacher at the school. “I came to this primary school in October 2016 and was saddened to see only 20 children out of the 44 students enrolled from classes one to five, coming to class. I decided I had to do something to change that,” he recalled.
“I visited the parents of the students, brought the matter of low attendance to the attention of the gram pradhan and discussed the problem at length with the school management committee. It took us [six teachers of the school] two months before we could start bringing about the transformation,” he added.
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Operation Kayakalp, started by the state government in 2019, helped transform the school into a centre of excellence.
“We wanted to make our school a centre of excellence. Today, from the straggling 44 students in 2016, we have 218 studying in the school and 95 per cent of them attend school regularly,” said Dwivedi.
The teachers at school use TLMs (Teaching Learning Materials) to impart learning effectively. The school has a library too. The most attractive corner of the village school is the ‘news corner’ where newspapers are displayed and the children read them regularly.
The 35-year-old teacher won the Uttar Pradesh State Teacher Award, 2022. His school, the government primary school at Bhagesar village, has been declared a school of excellence in 2018, and was selected for the Information and Communication Technology award in education in 2020 and again in 2021.
Ranking high in quality of education
The District Institution of Education and Training (DIET) selects two schools from each block based on several parameters, that include the school building, facilities, teaching outcomes, enrollment, attendance and so on. From a list of 150 schools across the state, the State Council of Educational Research and Training selects 100 schools and ranks them.
“Of the 100 schools selected by the state government, our school was ranked fifth in 2018. We are no less than any of the private schools. We give our children the best possible education and other facilities, and are assured that they will do well,” said Dwivedi.
The parents of the students couldn’t be more pleased. “My daughters, Sunny who is in the fifth class and Pari who is in the third, both enjoy school,” Savita Devi, a parent, told Gaon Connection. She was particularly happy that there had been a tree planting drive in the school which made the surroundings of the school lovely. “My children get food, milk and even uniforms. The money for the uniforms is directly deposited into our account,” she said.
“I am grateful to the teachers who are so invested in the children that they actually come home to check on them if they are absent,” Sunita Devi said. “This government school is giving private schools a run for their money,” she smiled.