Students learn to keep textbooks and copies clean and tidy

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This simple zero investment initiative has put a check on damage of books by students,
improving their learning outcomes

Jitendra Ranjana, a teacher in the Government Primary School in Kadoch village of Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh, was for long facing a very unusual problem. Most of the students carried damaged, torn books with missing pages and some of them even lost or misplaced them or used to forget to bring them to school.

“The situation was such that by the end of the year, there was hardly any student who carried a clean tidy book and this negatively impacted the learning outcomes of students to a great deal as half of the information used to be missing from the books,” Ranjana said.

She recalled that situation used to worsen after 2-3 holidays and they used to return without homework with shabby school bags and books.

Pointing out that there is lack of education and poverty among people in the area where the school is based, Ranjana said that these factors affect the outlook of people towards education to a great extent.

“They are busy making ends meet and do not have time to see what their child is doing at school or once he/she is back at home. So they are not very concerned whether the children do their homework or keep their books properly,” she added.

In order to address the problem, Ranjana, in 2014, came up with the idea of keeping the books and notebooks of students at school and they are allowed to take only those books at home whose homework is given.This idea helped in reducing the burden of heavy school bags and keeping the books clean and tidy till the end of year so that students can have all the information intact and improve their academic results

Also, it has brought discipline in the lives of students as they are responsible to keep their books properly in class which reflects in their behaviour at home.

For this, she used unused racks and cupboards lying in the school for keeping the students’ books and copies, separating them subject-wise. So when the students come to the class, they pick up their books according to the subject period.

Ranjana, who teaches 3rd and 4th class, attended the orientation program of Zero Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives (ZIIEI) in July 2018 and shared her idea with trainers.

“It was only after I attended the training, I realised that my simple idea was a zero investment innovation which can be shared with the teacher fraternity and has the capacity bring about a bigger change in the lives of students,” Jitendra said

She was also motivated to adopt Children’s Parliament, one of the ZIIEI innovations.

“Under Children’s Parliament, I have allotted some duties to the students like keeping the school clean and managing the class in the absence of teacher. Children are responding to the activity and they are fulfilling their duties responsibly,” she added.