The Fondest Corner in a Govt Primary School
A teacher in Siktaur Primary School in Khorabar block, Gorakhpur district, cleared out a disused room and turned it into a colourful library that has become the favourite hangout for the school’s children.
Aishwarya Tripathi 14 April 2023 12:46 PM GMT
Siktaur (Gorakhpur), Uttar Pradesh
There is a clothesline in the whitewashed room, but instead of clothes, there are books that are hanging there held in place with the clothespins.
The walls of the room have colourful drawings made by children stuck on them.
The library at Siktaur Primary School in Khorabar block of Gorakhpur district, Uttar Pradesh is hugely popular with its students. They are often to be found sitting or even lying down on durries spread out on the floor, with a book in their hands.
It is difficult to imagine that before January 2019, this room was in shambles. It was Shweta Singh, who decided to clean it up and turn it into the first library this government primary school has ever had.
Shweta Singh was posted in Siktaur Primary School in 2010 to teach Class III. In 2018, she attended a workshop organised by Mission Shikshan Samvad — a non-government organisation working in the education sector — where she learnt how to build a library by seeking book donations through Samoohik Sahbhagita or the community’s help.
“I met a teacher from Meerut there, who had sought book donations on social media platforms for a library. I felt I could do the same,” Shweta Singh told Gaon Connection. She used Facebook to make an appeal for books and very quickly gathered stacks of them. Now the problem was to find a home for them.
“I reached out to the pradhan of the village to repair the vacant room in the school and with his help we got the library infrastructure ready,” she said.
The teacher then roped her students to make drawings which were then put up on the walls.
“They love to see their art adorning the room. They keep pointing out their drawings to their friends,” the 37-year-old teacher laughed.
While the teacher talked to Gaon Connection, Abhishikha Sharma, with her neatly plaited hair and brown and red uniform, grabbed her favourite book, a collection of Akbar Birbal stories.
“I love coming to the library and reading books. They have so many stories and pictures. Ma’am even makes us play games here,” the eight-year-old said.
Playtime at Library
Shweta Singh gets her children to play word games in the library. The children sit in a circle on the durrie and roll a handful of dice. The dice have a letter of the alphabet on each side. Whatever letter faces up, the children have to say out a word beginning with that letter.
Shweta Singh is convinced that since the library became operational, the children’s reading skills have improved. “The colourful pictures and big fonts of these books attract the children and they are reading more,” Shweta Singh told Gaon Connection.
Also Read: Libraries of Opportunities in Bihar
Children are getting more observant and are taking in so many details, the teacher said. For example, when Simran, studying in Class III, reads the Hathi-Kachua story, she didn’t just observe the pictures of the prime characters of the story in the book, but also grasped the extra details of the grass, flowing water and trees as well.
Raghunandan Nishad, Simran’s classmate, said he went back home and narrated the stories he read in school to his toddler brother.
There is also a stationary bank in the library.
“The students who sometimes forget to get stationary items, or can’t afford them, can pick up notebooks, pencils, erasers and colours from this bank,” she explained.
“I have maintained a register where the borrower makes an entry and returns the loaned item whenever he or she is able to,” she said.
Also Read: Library on a Cart
The library mission has been satisfying and fulfilling, Shweta Singh said. “It was not difficult at all to start it and now it has become the fondest place for children at the Siktaur Primary School,” she smiled.
The Education Budget 2023, emphasised on the promotion of physical libraries in villages and cultivating reading habits in rural children, through these libraries.
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