Mobilising Community Help

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Government school teacher Ashok Rajoriya’s initiative to involve community in the development of school has led to improvement in learning outcomes of students

Twelve students studying under a tree with no boundary walls and stray animals grazing around was what constituted the Government Middle School in Madhpipriya in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh a little over a decade agoWhen Ashok Rajoriya joined the school in 2006 as a teacher, he had a lot to do.

“I started planting flowers on the boundary but they were destroyed by stray animals,” he said.

Explaining further, he said that the school had got 5,000 rupees as a grant which was not enough for any kind of renovation work, so I contributed the same amount and another teacher contributed 1,100 rupees. But the amount was still not sufficient.

“It was then I decided to contact the community by approaching the village head. At first it was difficult as they
thought we get enough funds to take care of the school but when I explained the situation, the community supported the cause and contributed 30,000 rupees for the school,” he said.

With this money, Rajoriya was able to construct a fence of barbed wires around the school along with a gate and also planted flowers and vegetables inside its periphery. Similarly, rooms were constructed in the school. The little kitchen garden that developed as a result provided vegetables for the mid-day meal as well as knowledge for the students about the nutrients present in them and their health benefits.

With an aim to give a new turn to the traditional teaching method using books and blackboard, he started downloading videos from Internet and teaching the students by placing a mike in front of the phone so that the whole class could hear.

“This type of teaching generated interest towards studies among the students who generally belong to the lower strata of the society and do not have access to such mediums of knowledge,” Ashok said

Seeing his efforts, community members donated an LED TV as a result of which students were introduced to digital learning.

Rajoriya said that with the LED TV in the class, learning outcomes of students improved, they have become more attentive in the class and also this has helped check absenteeism in the class. A water filter was also installed by the community in the school.

His efforts have borne fruits as the 6th-8th school now has 75 students.

“My school changed because of community participation. Schools should not be dependent on the government.Some efforts should be initiated by the teachers also. Development of school as well as that of students is a collective effort,” he said.

The efforts of Rajoriya came to light after he attended the ZIIEI training in Madhya Pradesh in May 2018.He not only presented his community participation model but also learnt about different zero investment innovations that he said, “will help in improving the quality of education in his school.”

“Making art and craft and science models from waste material, children’s cabinet and learning through games are very inspiring and engaging for students,” he added.

ZIIEI training program was started in Madhya Pradesh in October 2017. A total of 1,332 sessions were conducted in 51 districts. 97,561 teachers were oriented towards innovations out of which 68,774 submitted their ideas.