A government school in Rajasthan’s Tonk district is elbowing out private schools from the area with its out-of-the-box facilities and teaching methods

A government school in an interior village of Rajasthan is giving private schools in the area a run for their money. While the number of private schools in villages across the country have been going up, as revealed in a recent study, it is the opposite in and around Kali Hardia village in Rajasthan’s Tonk district where the private schools have closed down as parents prefer to admit their children to the Upper Primary School, Kali Hardia — a role model school that has earned a name for itself in the region.

Situated in a village that did not have electricity some months back, this school today fulfils every norm of the Right to Education Act and has much more to offer to students than what is prescribed in the RTE norms.

There are 80 girls out of 182 students in the school. It is the first school in Tonk district where sanitary napkins are provided in the girls’ toilet and an innovative inbuilt mechanism is in place for the safe disposal of used napkins. A part of the School Facility Grant is kept aside for the purpose. As there is no female teacher in the school, the anganwadi sahayak is roped in to teach the girls about the advantages of using sanitary napkins. The girls say that not only are they using sanitary napkins now, something that was unheard of in their village earlier, they are even persuading their mothers and other women relatives to do so.

An inclusive school, there is a separate toilet for students with disabilities. There are ramps leading to every classroom; extra attention and time is devoted to slow learners. The teachers are specially trained for the job and their progress is monitored on a monthly basis. The school promotes activity-based learning from Class I to XI.

One finds Sushila, an Education Volunteer, teaching the dropouts after-school hours with the objective to bring them back to school and help them continue their studies. Sushila has done her BSTC (a teachers training course after Higher Secondary education). As per the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan norms, she gets Rs. 12 per day per dropout. The children are also given study material.

Yasin Ali, the headmaster of the school who leads a dedicated team of teachers, says that he has roped in NGOs and other organisations to create facilities for which there was no government provision or funds available.

A system to store 40,000 litres of water has been put in place with the help of Gramin Vikas Navyug Mandal. Even the waste water is put to use for watering the plants. The school library has 1,500 books collected from various sources, including a Delhi-based NGO. Another organisation has provided software and technical assistance for the students’ computer lessons.

A notice board has details of the source of money and of every single paisa spent on various activities.

The local anganwadi has been shifted to the school premises with the objective that the children are not left out of school once they are of school-going age. The school management committee meets twice a month, says Ram Narayan, a member of the panel.