Bringing the girls back to school
Girls of Bijauli village in Dholpur, Rajasthan had to drop out of school after class 8 as there was no high school nearby. Upgrading of the local school has brought girls back to school, with more than half the school students now girls.
Manoj Choudhary 1 Sep 2023 9:20 AM GMT
Many girls dropped out of school and stayed home after they passed class 8 as Bijauli village did not have a high school. Parents of young teenage daughters were not ready to send their girls far away to pursue education.
But nine years back, in 2014, when the Rajkiya Uchcha Madhyamik Vidyalaya (RUMV) located in Dholpur district of Rajasthan, was upgraded to senior secondary level, the transformation in Bijauli village was dramatic.
“Now 55 per cent of the students in the school are girls, and many of them are going on to pursue higher studies in colleges,” Renu Gurjar, the history teacher at Rajkiya Uchcha Madhyamik Vidyalaya, told Gaon Connection. “In 2011, only 14.2 per cent females in Bijauli, out of a population of 2,526, were literate,” she added. But things are changing now.
Ever since the school was upgraded, it has been winning accolades. Last year, the school team won the first prize in two categories in a science model making competition organised by the Rajasthan School Siksha Parishad.
Two years ago, 10 students were given laptops for securing over 75 per cent marks in the matriculation examination. Altogether 80 per cent of the students of class 10 and 93 per cent of class 12 passed their examination in 2023. The school was also awarded by the state government for ‘No Drop Out’ in Bijauli in 2020.
According to the principal, Rajendra Kumar Sharma, the school was established in 1964 as a primary school. Until 2008, the classes from one to eight were held in eight rooms. When it was upgraded in 2014 the school grew and now has 24 classrooms.
“There are 619 students enrolled at school and more than half of them are girls. We have 22 teachers,” Bharat Bhushan Bhardwaj, the social science teacher, told Gaon Connection.
Rajkiya Uchcha Madhyamik Vidyalaya is now the pride of the village community.
“Our village has 409 households and most of us are daily wage labourers and farmers. The school has been the best thing that has happened to our children,” Pinky Devi, a resident of Bijauli told Gaon Connection. She said that the focus on academics as well as sporting activities in the school would open up opportunities for the children, especially girls, who came from economically weaker sections.
“It is not just education, our children also get a nutritious midday meal at the school, along with bread and milk,” Laxmi Devi, a parent of a primary school student, told Gaon Connection. “The facilities at the school ensure that our children get a healthy mind and body,” she said.
Play at work
RUMV students have played Dholpur district level school cricket. The kabaddi team has played up to the state level event in 2020. Eight students from the school played cricket at the school olympics at the block level in 2022. A class 12 student, Vijay Singh, was selected for the state level wrestling competition in 2022, and the school students were members of the Bijauli panchayat kabaddi and cricket teams in the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Olympic event in August 2023.
“Our school has a 1.65-acre playground where students play different sports. Panchayat level general public sports activities are also organised there,” Damor Lal Chand, the school’s sports teacher, told Gaon Connection. The students have proved their excellence in kabaddi, cricket, volleyball, kho kho and karate, he said with pride.
Many people have stepped forward to help the school reach greater heights. Member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Bari block, Girraj Singh Malinga donated 100 benches to the school when the school was nominated as a centre for 10th and 12th board examination.
A retired teacher of the school, Shiv Singh Meen, donated another 25 benches for the students. Dholpur district collector Anil Kumar Agarwal visited the school in July 2023. He directed the school administration to get more benches with the donations they received.
“Public representatives, villagers, non government organisations and former teachers are constantly helping out. Their names are displayed on the walls of the school so that students also get inspired,” Bharat Bhushan Bhardwaj, a teacher at the school, told Gaon Connection.
Children from neighbouring villages, up to five kilometres radius, take admission at Rajkiya Uchcha Madhyamik Vidyalaya. Block level teachers training events are also organised in its campus.
A smart television was given to the school by the state government in June 2023 for conducting e classes. Students attend online classes through the ‘E-Kaksha’ app if some teacher is absent.