Stories!!

How did Devesh manage to work in an under construction school in the middle of year

2014-01-01 12.02.46

A Fellowhip Report:
Bachpan Banao fellowship was a platform for me to use all my previous knowledge, exposure and innovative ideas in Pota Cabin Schools to better the existing systems, processes and practices. I undertook BB fellowship from August 25, 2013 to April 25, 2013. I began with Gatam Pota Cabin. But I had to leave that school due to some issues and I went to Pota Cabin Kuakonda-2 from January. This nine month fellowship was a great experience for me.

I write this report with focus on both the schools individually:
Gatam Pota Cabin:
The school is situated in Katekalyan block and 30 km away from Dantewada town and supposed to be distant among others. The school is girls’ Pota Cabin. The structure of the school is very beautiful placed in bottom of mountain and surrounded by small tribal community. It has almost complete infrastructure like a computer lab with 10 computers, library with a number of books, a big dining hall and LCD TV. In a school equipped with most of the basic facilities my task was to enforce the use of all.
Talking about its academic status in beginning school has sufficient teachers with a headmaster named J L Ravat who was an old experienced teacher and managed everything very well. But he believed in conventional methods of teaching and there was a lot of scope of improving the things.
Mr Ravat was an active man and the way he managed the processes of hostel and school was very impressive. He had good relationship with students. At the same time he was highly strict with teachers. Under his warden-ship students were happy and disciplined and teachers/staff were hard working.
Standards given in RTE were really not being implemented and used properly. For example CCE, teacher’s diary, remedial classes were not in use.

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Issues at the time of joining:
1. At the time of my first class I realized that level of students is not up to the mark and satisfactory according to their classes. Some students studying in class 8th and 7th did not know how to read. It was a challenging issues which was affecting over all academic performance of the school. Warden and teachers of the school also understood this problem very well. For this issue Mr. Ravat used to go and teach alphabets randomly to students in random classes. Results of those random efforts were not visible.
2. CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) was not in use. Although teachers were aware about CCE. They told me that they used CCE last year. But the way they used CCE was useless. They did not enter grads of students on regular basis. Plus, due to financial issue warden was not interested in purchasing CCE material.
3. Teaching methods were just traditional. Teachers did not use any activities while teaching to make the process of learning more interesting.
4. The school had a good computer lab and library. But they were not being used efficiently.
5. Extracurricular activities like sports, singing etc were not being held properly. Games and sports were in practice but they were not organized.
6. Evening classes were not being taken. There was needed proper study hour time and continuous monitoring.
7. Evening prayer after classes are over which was supposed to be National Song Vande Mataram was not in practice. At 4.30 pm students were left without any official method.
8. There was no space for children to explore their creativity. This issue required solution because creative environment leads to multidirectional development of children.
9. Teacher’s weekly meeting was not being practiced.
10. Improvement in personal hygiene and sanitation was required.
11. Bal Panchayat was already established but respected student leaders were not well aware about their responsibilities and duties.
12. School management committee was just on papers. There was no regular meeting of SMCs.

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Initiatives:
1. To tackle the issue of bad academic performance and to bring the students to their levels of respective classes I tried to introduce the concept of Remedial Classes. My idea was to divide the students according to their levels in Hindi, English and Mathematics (one at a time) irrespective of their classes and to teach them one hour a day. Headmaster was reluctant to accept this idea in beginning. But I kept convincing him for more than one month. Then I myself started testing the students to start remedial classes. Headmaster finally agreed. We decided to start the remedial classes for Hindi on 4 pm of every evening. We received good results.
2. By continuously convincing the headmaster he purchased necessary material for CCE. Teachers started writing their diaries. I used to discuss about the ways how to write lesson plan. I myself wrote my diary.
Formative assessment was being done in starting. Teachers were taking tests on every Saturday. But assessment could not sustain for so long. Teacher did not take that seriously. I agree it was my mistake that I could not motivate them.
3. My classes were very interesting. Students of class 5th were so happy with my teaching. I introduced good activities in my class. I tried to involve students in process of learning. My classes were full of fun and knowledge.
At the same time I motivated other teachers to use activities while teaching. Some of the teachers were very interesting. We told the students of class 5th to create some projects and models of Paryavaran subjects.
4. To make the maximum use of resources given by administration like computers and library we made it official classes. Computer periods were taken in evening.
5. I tried to organize the students in teams during evening games. At the same time I told Khel- Mantri to see and make sure all the students are involved in sports.
6. To start evening supervised study we allotted the terms to ladies teachers. School warden and I monitored every evening whether students are studying or teachers guiding them in their rooms or not.
7. I talked to HM and started evening prayer with the national song Vande Matram after classes are over.
8. I started a concept of wall magazine. Using chart papers I made a board like place on which students pasted colorful drawings and poems. Students were very interested in making drawings. Pasting drawings was house-wise and on weekly basis.
9. To make the Bal Panchayat more active I continuously interacted with Mantris to make them responsible in order to hand over the responsibilities concerned with hostel administration in areas like cleanliness, mess, health etc.

Other initiatives:
1. Started Navodaya Coaching
2. Made the notice boards active and functional
3. Tried to bring the IBT in academic time table
4. Made the evening prayer an interesting time for children with new songs and general knowledge discussions with the presence of Adhikshak.
5. Started suggestion-box and a Gyan Magazine which contained newspaper articles with important news.

Current Problems and their Solutions (at school and district level):
1. Proper and effective implementation of CCE is expected to take place. For this school teachers should be made aware about its importance.
District administration should regularly monitor CCE implementation in every school.
2. Activity-based classes are needed to be promoted. At school level teachers should have the liberty to teach the students according to their ways using different and limited resources like charts, maps etc.
District administration should provide necessary materials like science kit to schools in the beginning of first semester so that teachers will be able to use those to make the classes more interesting.
3. When Ravat sir left the post of Adhishak, the school suffered with management issue. The new adhikshika’s behavior with students is somewhat problematic. According to my observation she was not much interested in the school.
Administration should seriously solve the matter of school warden.
4. Other important thing is SMC on which efforts should be made. For this school warden will have to take some initiatives to organize SMC meetings.
District Administration should also put some pressure on schools to do so.
5. The school doesn’t have good science teachers. I would request the district administration to provide some good new science and mathematics teachers.

Pota Cabin Kuakonda-2:
I started working here from January. Previous fellow who worked there did not do anything appropriate. I was supposed to do new things in the school in the middle of the middle of the year. The job was a bit difficult but I figured out issues on my level best.
The school is under construction and lacks in many basic facilities and infrastructure like class rooms, kitchen shed, dining hall, library, computers and a school van. Still school head was running the school in good way and his efforts were commendable. Adhikshak of the school is Mr. RR Rana and Sahayak Adhikshak is JR Kashyap. Kashyap sir was also is the charge of head master.
One notable thing was that Kashyap sir was more active and interested in about school than Rana sir. So on most issue I spoke to Kashyap sir. However, I had good relationship with both.
The school accommodates near 300 boys. There are 11 teachers.

Issues at the time of joining:
1. There were no remedial classes in practice even if six months of session were already passed. It was highly required to start because students were not very good at academics.
2. CCE was not being implemented. No material required for CCE was available I the school.
3. Morning’s prayer and its place were kind of unsystematic.
4. No activity based classes were in practice.
5. Teachers were not serious about school affairs. They were highly irregular. There was no motivation among them.
6. Some students had no habit of wearing shoes and personal cleanliness was needed to be taken care of.
7. Anudeshaks did not stay in the hostels in night with students and were not taking care of their respective rooms. Supervised study was not in practice.
8. There was not much space for creativity for students.

Initiatives
1. On the very first day I started testing children to find their levels for remedial classes. We divided students according to their knowledge of Hindi in five levels. And teachers were allotted classes. We conducted the remedial classes from 9.30 in the morning. I also taught the level 5th.
2. I tried to convince the Adhikshak to purchase CCE material. Some teachers wrote their teacher’s diary. I tried to ask the teachers to start the regular assessment. They didn’t take me seriously. I agree that it was my failure but at the same time it was a responsibility of HM. Administrative skills of HM Kashyap sir is doubtable.
3. I changed the place of Morning Prayer and moved it in front of school. National anthem was not sung in morning and national song was not sung. We started Jan Gan Man in morning and Vande Mataram in evening.
Also we started prayer activities in morning. It included Aaj ka Vichar, three words of English, special activity which was poem and general knowledge questions. Every day was decided to for a particular class. It helped the students to overcome their fear of speaking in large crowds and to improve their spoken skills. There was a good response from the students and every staff appreciated these activities.
4. I tried to have activities in classes of every teacher. Some of them tried to do it. As I taught mathematics in class 5th so my every class had activities. I tried to teach them with limited resources available in school. Students took greater interest in my class.
To improve practicality and understanding of students in science I told the students to make drawings given in book and paste them in walls of classes.
I developed some projects based on mirror like Kaleidoscope and periscope with students. Also using soil and thermacol our students made a model of planetary system.
5. Teachers were irregular and not serious about school affairs. To solve this problem I talked with Adhikshak Rana sir and HM Kashyap sir. They were also sick of it. We decided to talk to teacher about the issue in teacher’s meeting.
We got the improvement in regularity up to some extent. For this HM started marking absent in attendance register. I faced some conflicts with teachers. Those were the worst experience of my fellowship.
6. To improve the personal cleanliness in students we started checking every day whether students wore shoes or not. Other thing we did everyday in prayer was to ask the students to check their collars of shirts and whether shirts are in or not.
7. We talked to teachers to take supervised study classes in evening. We were successful to have done so for some time but after a month they stopped coming in evening.
8. To provide a space to students to explore their creativity we started wall magazine.
Other Initiatives
1. I helped the Adhikshak during the beautification process of schools. The idea of naming the residential rooms was mine. We named the room on names of planets like Surya, Budha, Mangal etc.
Also I helped in finding good quotations to be written on wall.
2. We started notice board in hostel and school both.
3. We made it a compulsory to write Aaj Ka Vichar on a board kept in front of office.
4. We started suggestion box and a place where we pasted the photographs of activities of students and school.
5. We started Baal Sabha on every Saturday.
6. I initiated new songs in evening prayer. Students liked them very much.
7. Tried to make the Bal Panchayat more active by being in continuous touch with respective Mantris to remember them their duties.
8. Sanitation Campaign was observed for a week. During this week we continuously told the students to wash their hands before they eat, to keep their rooms and place clean, to keep the personal hygiene. Students were told to make the posters to in Halbi, Gondi and Hindi related to cleanliness. As a result we noticed good improvement in student’s personal hygiene.
9. At the time of Rangila Mahotsav I did my best to students

Current Problems and their Solutions (at school and district level):
1. Pota Cabin Kuakonda 2 is facing infrastructure issue from beginning. School doesn’t have even proper classrooms. Also it needs boundaries around school, a school van (TATA magic), computers and a library. For this SMC should be more active so that they can raise such issues.
At district level, administration should try to provide above mentioned facilities to our Pota Cabin.
2. SMC exists only on papers.
I tried to convince my Adhikshak to call members. He said that it was just not possible to call every member of SMC because they live very far from school. I think, still, if Adhikshak wants he can start SMC meetings with some efforts.
I am not sure if it possible to make SMC meetings compulsory for every school by district administration.
3. Teachers are very irregular in this school. I saw a teacher who didn’t attend the school for two months. For this HM of the school will have to take some strict action.
Education officers should frequently go to schools and check the attendance record of teachers and punish the teachers if found guilty.
4. For proper implementation of CCE HM will have to purchase necessary material on time.
Also HM will have to monitor the status of assessments on regular basis.
District administration should organize training on CCE for teachers in beginning of first semester. And it should monitor it on district level by frequent visits by officers like CAC, BRC etc.
5. I would request the district administration to give more some more teachers to the school especially for science and mathematics.
6. There is not much focus on IBT.
To solve this issue school head will have to take care.
And IBT coordinators will have to be in continuous touch with IBT Anudeshaks to know whether IBT classes are being taken in school or not

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AVINASH SINGH talking about his experiences…..

Avinash with his kids during free time!

Coming to Dantewada was driven by a conviction, a conviction of seeing a world with no illiteracy. I am Avinash Kumar Singh and I am a Bachpan Banao fellow. Working with the society was something I was going to do and it was decided at a very tender age , I guess when I was in standard 7th and raising funds for the thalassemia patients was the start of it. I did my graduation in history honors from Ramjas college Delhi university and was working part time to fund my needs .Going against parents wish was never going to be easy and neither it was .Was placed with Hdfc bank but resigned for upsc exams , could not get through mains and destiny send me to Dantewada , and here I am an eternally happy man . I had jumped in to the well to clean it myself and it was no looking back .
I was placed in Heta meta pota cabin to help the administration and teachers and fore mostly the kids who are the best teachers . I realized love was something this kids desire and I gave them in plenty the end result “sir aap mat jaeye , aap chale jaenge phir hum kisse baat karenge “ I was in tears and was bluntly looking at them when I was about to leave ,not knowing what to say I was sad .Technically working on cce , teachers dairy and how to teach in a way that kids can relate to were some of my areas of focus .i enjoyed my responsibility and got accolades from my coordinators Ashish and Pranith they said” aisa kam to pune me v nai hota”. The school staff be it teaching or non teaching are basacially adivasis or the original inhabitants and through them one comes to know about there culture their problems and most interestingly their solutions.
This fellowship gave me Honour respect and above all a chance to know my self .do what ever I think was right for the children ranging from eduation to health and sports. I explored myself my potentials . a chance to meet personalities like vinayak sen deva, ji tope are in itself a huge honour .the fellowship was a life time opportunity and and it has helped me come closer to my self .

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ABUJAR SUBHANI – less words , more actions and a new territory…

अबुजर सुबानी, बेंगलूर पोटा केबिन, दंतेवाडा

2013-12-18 13.33.44

किसी मनुष्य के जीवन मे करियर का अहम् महत्व होता है और इसकी शुरुआत उस मजबूती से करना चाहता हूँ. क्योकि मेरी सोच रही है की मैं शिक्षा के क्षेत्र मे काम करू और समाज को जागरूक करू क्योकि जो परेशानिया मैंने अपने छात्र जीवन मे उठाई है उन परेशानियों से समाज की भावी पीड़ियो को निजात दिलाना चाहता दिला सकु. मैंने MSW करने के पश्चात् इस क्षेत्र मे अपने कदम को आगे बढाया. और इस समय मुझे अनुभव और सीखने की खासी जरुरत महसूस हुई. जिसके लिए बचपन बनाओ फ़ेलोशिप मुझे एक अच्छा विकल्प लगा. मुझे इस से जुड़कर दंतेवाडा के बेंगलूर पोटा केबिन मे काम करने का मौका मिला. इस साल की फ़ेलोशिप मे मैंने छात्रो और शिक्षको के साथ काम किया. जिससे मुझे यहाँ के शिक्षा के हालात और संस्कृति को समझने का मौका मिला. शिक्षा के क्षेत्र मे विकास के लिए मैंने इस पोटा केबिन मे हर संभव कोशिश की और यहाँ पर मुझे बहुत प्यार मिला. हम लोग यहाँ एक परिवार की तरह एक दुसरे के साथ मिलकर परेशानियों को समझकर उसे दूर करने की कोशिश की. आखिर मे मैं यह कहना चाहता हूँ कि मैंने जो एक साल दंतेवाडा मे गुजारा वह मेरी जिन्दगी के हसींन पलो मे से एक होगा.

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JOURNEY OF IMRAAN ALI, his work, experience and vision…

As a child I always liked to help others but I really did not know that I will become a social worker. Gradually as i was studying my interest in social activities increased with the time. At the time of selection of graduation I decided that social work will be my ambition of life to bring up a good society. I studied my masters in social work (MSW).
During my masters in Hyderabad I used to go to field-work and interacted with community. I realized that I would better work with children to make them a good human being. After compeltion of post-graduation I went to work with needy children. During that work I felt that the joy I get by putting a poor child into a school from the street or adverse place can not be compared with the satisfaction I recieve after eating in a five star hotel.

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Then I got an opportunity to join the Bachpan Banao fellowship to work with tribal children in naxal-affected area of Dantewada district. Many people discouraged me to go there but I already had decided to go to Dantewada. After starting my work in Dantewada the whole Bachpan Banao team has become my family. They also made me to feel that ‘we are a family.’ To have such a great atmosphere I give all credits to my co-ordinators Ashish and Pranith.

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Our training got completed in Dantewada and I went to my field which was Pota Cabin school Kuakonda. I have no words to explain how much respect and love I got from all school-staff and children. The school accommodated 300 students and 28 staff and it was a big platform to work with human resource. There was a lot of scope for innovation I can bring in education of underprivileged children. I created a healthy and happy atmosphere for kids in the school. I am very thankful to district administration, school staff and community which helped me to create such environment.
The last thing I want to say that “the work I did for children in tribal community has been overwhelming and it has been my privillege to work with such children living and studying in conflict zone of Dantewada.”

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Journey of Devesh Khatarkar, the silent champion, so far!!

Fellows at Seva Gram Wardha
Fellows at Seva Gram Wardha

It was a bit irrelevant to go to Dantewada after completing my engineering from Indore. Friends advised me to rethink. I followed my intuition and joined Bachpan Banao fellowship.
The only motivation to work in such a place like Dantewada, infamous for incidents of violence, was my will to understand grass-root level issues of the country and serve disadvantaged people. My decision seemed correct when I entered the field: Pota Cabin school.
Pota Cabins are residential schools being run by district administration in interior villages of Dantewada with the target of accommodating all tribal children. But the quality of education in those schools was not up to the mark. That’s where we worked as Bachpan Banao fellows to empower the education system.
I lived and worked in Pota Cabin with school-warden, local teachers and rural communities. As a fellow I helped them in every aspect of work which would better the school administration, academics and extracurricular activities. At the same time, I tried to implement standards of RTE like remedial classes, CCE etc. I focused on enhancing good habits of personal hygiene and sanitation in students.
I tried to motivate the teachers to make process of learning more interesting. We developed some models like solar system, periscope, kaleidoscope etc.
It is true that in the fellowship everything was not that easy going as I had to face some baffling situations like infrastructural issues in school-administration, ignorance and lack of seriousness in staff. At such moments we have to use tactics to bring everything in order. I was glad when I saw the children participating in every activity and performing well in academics. I measured my success on their happy and motivated faces.
In the school which was situated far in forest warden, teachers and students were like my family. Warden and teachers were very helpful and interactive.
I got every possible guidance and support, professional and personal as well, from fellowship coordinators Pranith Simha and Ashish Shrivastav. They were more like friends than coordinators. My other friends in Dantewada were fellows working in other schools. They were awesome and crazy.
My work in Bachpan Banao fellowship is a lifelong experience for me. Working for the education of tribal children gave me inestimable satisfaction and a lot of good memories.

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