Kewalanand Kandpal, director of a state school in Bageshwar District, was awarded the National Teachers Award 2020 on Saturday’s Teachers Day. He was recognized for his efforts as a teacher who left no stone unturned in order to provide all of his students with the best possible education.
From helping the community to buying land to build a school, to monthly mother-daughter meetings and promoting girls’ education, Kandpal always went one step further to promote education.
“It is a great moment that my efforts have been nationally recognized for only 70-72 students in a remote village,” said Kandpal.
He received the award for having shown himself to be an inspiring and capable leader of his school by demonstrating the ability to build the school’s support for the school, bridge the gender gap in enrollment and be successful too Mobilize resources for land and infrastructure for the school.
“When I came to Government Higher Secondary School in Pudkuni in the Kapkote Block of Bageshwar in October 2017, there was no road connection to the region or a building for the school. I realized that people never questioned this. I started talking to the villagers and persuading them to provide land for the school to be built. I made it clear to them that if there is no building, the school moves out of the village and merges with another school nearby, thereby restricting access for children, ”said Kandpal.
After almost a year of raising awareness of the importance of education, Kandpal “saw a glimmer of hope from the villagers” regarding their land donation in March 2019.
To make sure girls didn’t drop out, he started a monthly mother-daughter meeting where schoolgirls talked to their mothers and told them that “they (the girls) didn’t want to get married early and would rather continue studying. ”
“Shortly after I joined in 2017, two girls dropped out of class 9. When we tried to find out why, we learned that one was getting married and the other was having financial problems. We spoke to the parents of the girl who was getting married and explained to them that it was illegal. When the parents were not paying attention, we found that it would be better if the girls spoke to their mothers themselves and told them that they would like to continue studying, ”added Kandpal.
Kandpal expanded the school’s infrastructure and also received donations, but made sure that the donations were in kind and not in cash.
Pudkuni State Secondary School in the Kapkote Block of Bageshwar District is located approximately 29 km from the district headquarters and at an altitude of 1,834 m.