Sunday Special | National

Alwar’s government schools make a turnaround with model project

Bright makeover: Cycles of students at the Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School in Ramgarh.

Bright makeover: Cycles of students at the Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School in Ramgarh.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

With 2 civil society groups joining hands to upgrade facilities and teaching, children from Meo and Dalit communities are back in classrooms

Battling declining enrolment and rising number of dropouts two years ago, the Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School in remote Ramgarh tehsil of Alwar district in Rajasthan has recorded a remarkable 98% pass result in Class XII this year. As an added bonus, five of its students were given laptops for getting distinctions.

The turnaround in the Ramgarh school, one of the 25 government schools in two blocks of the district, was possible, thanks to a model school project undertaken by two civil society groups with the financial assistance from a Finnish agency.

The project has helped improve infrastructure and attract students from marginalised sections to these schools.

As a result, the school, which started in a small building two decades ago, has a robust infrastructure today.

Vice-principal Hemlata Manaktala points out that the better amenities, including furniture, toilets and large classrooms and the multimedia K-Yaan facility have boosted the confidence of the girls.

‘Smart classes’

The Alwar Mewat Institute of Education and Development (AMIED) and Plan India, a child rights organisation, joined hands to establish ‘smart classes’ in the government schools in Ramgarh and Umren blocks and provide basic facilities in their buildings, apart from programmes to enhance capacity among the teachers. The Metso group from Finland has pitched in with financial assistance.

AMIED executive director Noor Mohammed told The Hindu that the project was aimed at encouraging families in the Meo-dominated blocks to send their children to the government schools. “The Meo Muslim, Dalit and OBC children were either attending private schools or not going to school at all,” he said.

The lack of basic facilities in the school buildings and high drop-out rates, coupled with the indifference of local communities, had created an environment in which the private schools had emerged as an alternative, despite their low quality of teaching.

As part of the project, AMIED activists fanned out to the 25 schools during the last two years and guided the teachers, the staff, the students and village elders in the betterment of the education system, and in strengthening the school development and management committees.

They also focussed on sanitation and hygiene in schools, and improving infrastructure. Laboratory equipment and books in the local language, Mewati were presented to the schools.

With existing resources

Rajwati Yadav, a teacher in Dadar’s Government Secondary School, said the Building as Learning Aid (BaLA) concept in the project had utilised the existing infrastructure elements as learning resources and helped the primary section’s students become proficient in basic counting and arithmetic and spelling words.

Payal Verma, a Class X student from the Ramgarh school, who was elected head of Baal Sansad for the current academic session, cited instances of students’ role in the school management. She said she had asked for separate laboratories for physics and chemistry.

AMIED associate Ikram Khan pointed out that the average results of schools in the project area had increased to 87.33% for the Secondary Board examination and 89.86% for the senior secondary exam. Besides, 32 girls have qualified for the State’s Gargi Award.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 1:28:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/alwars-government-schools-make-a-turnaround-with-model-project/article26100899.ece

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