The ‘Jadui Pitara’ Works its Magic in the Classroom
Under the Central government’s NIPUN Bharat initiative, primary school teachers in Gorakhpur district, Uttar Pradesh, are being trained to adopt a scientific pedagogy and improve a child’s ability to read and recognize language alphabets, and solve simple mathematical problems.
Aishwarya Tripathi 11 April 2023 8:05 AM GMT
Bhandaro (Gorakhpur), Uttar Pradesh
On a Monday morning, Shazia Bano walks into her classroom with a green briefcase. The box is a jadui pitara for her first graders who are familiar with what is about to unfold. And their excitement knows no bounds. They can’t wait for Shazia madam to distribute colourful number tiles, cut out in varied shapes like hexagons and squares, as well as red, green and yellow building blocks.
The 36-year-old is a primary school teacher in Bhandaro village, Jungle Kauria block, in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. She teaches a class of 11 boys and 18 girls and has to keep them engaged all the time.
Bano divides her class into six groups and distributes the blocks, tiles and shapes to them. “Rotate it amongst the groups after some time,” she instructs them.
Meanwhile, 12 kms away from Shazia’s Bhandaro Primary School, a training session is underway at the Block Resource Centre for 35 headmasters and shikshak sankuls. The sankuls are teachers from various schools, chosen by the block level education department, who in addition to their duties in their own schools, also assist teachers of other schools with the teaching methodology and so on.
One sankul is assigned to help 10-15 schools implement Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) in their respective schools. FLN skills test a child’s ability to read and recognize language alphabets, and solve simple mathematical problems.
Shazia participated in a four-day training-programme for teachers of Class I, II and III in September 2022. Improving FLN skills of their class was part of the session and Shazia’s green briefcase, the jadui pitara, is an outcome of that training.
Training the Teachers
“We are training select teachers so that we can cover a larger target group. Each headmaster and sankul is expected to pass on the key points from the training session to the teachers,” Amitesh Kumar, Block Education Officer, told Gaon Connection.
The training is being held by the district administration in collaboration with Central Square Foundation — a non-profit working towards ensuring quality school education — under the newly launched NIPUN Bharat initiative by the central government.
NIPUN Bharat is an initiative to attain universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools.
CSF points out that FLN levels in India are low. To bridge this gap, the teachers are being trained to teach with scientific pedagogy.
A district NIPUN cell has been constituted to assist the government education bodies analyse data, identify insights and define action steps for district and block officials. The district NIPUN Cell is working closely with DIET (District Institute of Education and Training) to facilitate training and address gaps in access to Teaching/Learning Material (TLM).
TLM are instructional materials, such as posters, blocks and tiles, that a teacher may use in teaching and learning.
The teachers have been provided with day-wise detailed lesson plans. This lays out what is to be taught on a specific day and prepares the teachers beforehand.
Shazia was given hard copies of the lesson plans and trackers which were a great help. “While NIPUN was initiated in August , the teachers were dependent on soft copies and online material for a month, which was challenging,” Shazia said.
“The lesson plans were really helpful. Prior to this we had to make one on our own, figure out how to divide the course and how to teach it in the best possible manner. This has been a good aid,” Bano said.
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Santosh Kumar Rao, the block Academic Resource Person for Science, who was the point of contact for the teachers to clarify doubts and help them implement NIPUN, acknowledged that till the hard copies were given out, the teachers had a lot of doubts. “But after the training, things are much clearer to them,” Rao told Gaon Connection.
“The process of implementation of NIPUN will be documented and the strengths and weaknesses of the public education system will be calibrated. These will be then replicated in other blocks, and eventually cover the entire district,” Amitesh Kumar said.
The deadline set for Jungle Kauria block block to achieve the NIPUN goal(see figure) is December 2023, whereas for the entire Gorakhpur district, it is December 2024. And teachers like Shazia Bano are vital if the deadline is to be met. They ensure that every pupil understands what he or she is reading, listening to or watching.
“Their observation skills are improving because they know that madam will ask them questions about what they saw on their way to school, and so on,” Shazia said. While she explained her new teaching methodology, her student Arpita tugged at her dupatta. She wanted to show her teacher a train she had made with red, blue and yellow building blocks, complete with an engine.
Bano looked at the train and declared, wide- eyed, that she had never seen such a beautiful train, ever!