Wonder what a cop is doing in Social Welfare Residential Schools? No, he is here not to throw his weight around but to throw out ignorance and diffidence - lock, stock and barrel. Few persons remember their humble beginnings once they make it big in life. But Dr. R.S. Praveen Kumar is certainly not one of the typical khaki men you come across.
This IPS officer is in the Social Welfare Department by choice and not by chance. Yes, he wants to ‘pay back’ to the department whose beneficiary he is.
Dr. Kumar, who recently did a Masters degree from Harvard University, requested Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to give him an opportunity to serve the department.
And in less than a year, he has brought in sweeping changes, unforeseen before. As Secretary, APSWREIS, Dr. Kumar has ushered in the transformation by visiting every school and interacting with teachers on a continuous basis.
Panacea for all problems
“I strongly believe that good education is the panacea for all problems and teachers are the key,” says Dr. Kumar who has handled many sensitive assignments in the police, including the elite Greyhounds. Though his parents were teachers, they had a humble beginning. His mother Premamma used to do ‘coolie’ work. But luckily, she was rescued as child labour by Christian missionaries and admitted to Roman Catholic Mission School in Kurnool. Later, she became a teacher. His father Savaranna also had a tough life. Having gone through all the pain and anxiety, Dr. Kumar doesn’t want other kids to suffer.
But his high spirits were dampened when he saw the quality of pedagogy and aspiration levels of the students. Despite excellent results year after year, students remained unemployed or settled for low paid jobs. “This made me burrow deeper for the reasons,” says Dr. Kumar, a recipient of President of India medal for internal security.
Stifling learning system
The problem, he found out, was to do with the ‘stifling’ teaching learning environment. Though teachers were brilliant, they lacked motivation and had difficulty teaching in English.
“The P5 strategy brought in change with comprehension, confidence and leadership levels going up. I believe teachers are the key. Without trusting and empowering them we cannot usher in any new change in education,” says Dr. Kumar.
I strongly believe good education is the panacea for all the problems and teachers are the key. Without trusting and empowering them we cannot usher in any change in education.