A teacher in Madhya Pradesh, selected by the Ministry of Education in New Delhi for national award for this year, is credited with transforming a girls’ elementary school that once served as livestock, such as locals, into a knowledge center in Bundelkhand Region, one of the most backward Regions of the country, as an individual teacher.
The names of teachers selected for the national award from across the country were announced last Friday, an official from the education department in Madhya Pradesh said.
When 45-year-old Sanjay Jain was stationed as an individual teacher at the school in Dunda Village, Tikamgarh District, about 12 years ago, only 18 students were enrolled and stray cattle were seen at all times on the school grounds. He had to put at least 80 innovative ideas into practice in order to arouse interest in children in the village and in the surrounding villages, according to the school officials and locals of the MP.
“When I saw shabby buildings and cowsheds on the school grounds, I was upset. Of the 18 students enrolled, only eight were present, but I haven’t lost hope. The first job I did was clean up the school grounds and the building with the help of the local people, ”Jain said.
“As an individual teacher, I ran a door-to-door campaign to increase student enrollment,” he added.
“Enrollment improved within a month, but students weren’t ready to come to school. In Parched Bundelkhand, plants are very important and I took advantage of them. I decided to give away a pot with a sapling planted in it and a student’s name and roll number written over the pot, but the pots were not given to students to take home. These were placed on the school premises itself. I have reserved the right to water the plant only to the student whose name is written on it. The students came to school to take care of the plants, ”Jain said.
This Jain technique was used to hold the students but not to attract the new students. He then decided to paint the school with bright colors, but there was a budget constraint for the school. He raised money from people and donated Rs 10,000 from his own savings to paint walls of the school with alphabets, numbers, tables and other essentials. When he felt a lack of space on the walls, he would use soil and abandoned stones to write general knowledge, basic math, etc.
“When we first entered the school, we had the feeling that knowledge was raining from everywhere. Wherever we looked, we found only general knowledge. The school had at least 80 types of informative pieces painted on different things, ”said Ratan Singh, a local social worker.
This innovation helped the students already enrolled to expand their knowledge and also attracted more guardians to send their children to school.
“But Jain didn’t stop there. He had started organizing programs to teach students on a variety of subjects including hygiene, the environment, food choices and others. Now he’s changed people’s mindsets towards a state school,” Anil said Pratap Singh Lodhi.
Jain said, “I feel good when I see more than 200 pots and trees that have been planted by students on the school grounds and in the village. Now the plantation has become an annual ritual for new students. ”
Jain has also introduced a technologically advanced class that comes with a projector and a laptop.
“I show students interesting educational videos and also teach them the basics of computers,” he added.
As the number of students increased, another teacher was sent to the school.
MATHS TEACHER RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD
Mohammad Shahid Ansari, a teacher at the Higher Secondary School in Khirsadoh, Parasiya, Chhindwara, was also selected for the National Awards to teachers who use advanced techniques to teach students.
As a math teacher, Ansari helped students develop science models that won state and national awards for doing so.
School Education Department Commissioner Jayshree Kiyawat said, “This year two teachers were selected for the prestigious award. Sanjay Jain and Mohd Shahid Ansari made us proud. Jain spent 12 years transforming the school and teaching the students, while Ansari motivating students to practical knowledge. These teachers are jewels for our department. “