Mirzapur: Smart Classes make education appealing to the first generation learners from tribal families
There is a lack of awareness about the importance of education in the tribal dominated Kakrad village in Uttar Pradesh, but a headmaster there has brought about smart changes in the teaching methods that have reduced absenteeism and transformed the learning environment.
Brijendra Dubey 25 April 2023 11:30 AM GMT
Kakrad (Mirzapur), Uttar Pradesh
The Composite Vidyalaya in Kakrad village is situated in the tribal dominated Patehra Block in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, about 35 kilometres from the district headquarters.
Till 2007, the school which has classes from one to eight was in a sorry state of disrepair. There were no proper classes, the children ran wild and the building itself was rather dilapidated.
But, when Rajendra Singh came to the school in April 2007, and took over as its headmaster, he set into place systems and teaching methods that signalled the start of the transformation of the school.
The school today is a far cry from what it was. The classrooms are impeccable, there are clean bathrooms and a grand dining hall for the students. The students in the school are taught in both English and Hindi.
“When I arrived here in 2007, there were only 77 children in this school. Today there are 226 in middle school and 271 in the primary section,” 53-year-old Rajendra Singh, told Gaon Connection.
“There are a lot of challenges in this tribal dominated area. One of the biggest problems is that the parents of the children are not aware about the importance of sending their children to school regularly,” the headmaster said. But now, things are improving with the school inviting the parents for regular parent teacher meetings.
“Many of the parents have not been to school at all or at best have studied only till the eighth or so,” Rajendra Singh said.
“We sometimes have to go to the homes of the children to fetch them to school. Sometimes they are out in the fields helping out their parents. But, we have tried to make the school as attractive as possible to motivate them to come to school more regularly,” the headmaster said.
“The classrooms are tiled, the walls are covered in paintings and there are fans to keep the students cool in the summer months. Witthe help of the state government we have now got benches for the children to sit on,” Rajendra Singh said.
It was their aim to ensure not a single child got left behind in the journey of learning. And, learning in a fun and engaging manner, he pointed out. The school has plenty of indoor games, has a library and the children are encouraged to play as well as learn, he said.
The state government made this an English Medium school in 2019. The school was given a projector so that teachers could use it as a teaching aid. “We take the help of cartoons and other video clippings to explain complicated concepts, etc, to the children,” Rajendra Singh said.
The school has four government teachers, two shiksha mitra who assist the teachers, and one Anudeshak who takes care of the extra curricular activities in the school, such as art, computers, physical training and so on.
“When the teacher explains we do understand what is being taught, but when we watch films on a subject we are learning, we can rewind, pause, etc., till such time we have thoroughly got what is being taught,” Anshu Shukla, a class eight student of the school, told Gaon Connection. Even if for some reason the teacher cannot be present, we can study on our own in these smart classes, she added.
“The biggest challenge is getting the children to come to school regularly. And, this has an impact on their education,” Santosh Kumar Dubey, a teacher at the school, told Gaon Connection.
The absenteeism is more during festivals when the children stop coming a few days before the festival and even after, Dubey said. But the teacher said it was also unavoidable circumstances that led to the children not attending school regularly.
“For example, these days the Mahua is in full bloom and the wheat is ready to harvest and the grown men and women are all out in the fields and forests. So, many of these children have to remain behind at home to look after their younger siblings. That is a responsibility they cannot avoid,” Dubey explained.
Nevertheless, when the children do come to school, their teachers ensure they are given all encouragement, love and facilities in order to get the best possible education they can, Dubey said.
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