Spending money on a variety of rites and rituals is not uncommon for a person living in India. We as a people are given to celebrating life events as well as marking death anniversaries, all in the name of tradition. It is, however, possible to use such occasions to benefit social causes. The reconstructed ZP School in Manjari tehsil of Latur district is an example of such benevolence. A teacher here chose to donate the entire sum earmarked for his father’s death anniversary to improve the school’s infrastructure. Today, the school is said to have the best infrastructure in Latur and, in the course of its makeover, has also received ISO certification. The name of the teacher is Raosaheb Bhamre.
Bhamre ‘Sir’ now works as a subject expert at the DIECPD (District Institute for Educational and Continuous Professional Development), Latur. This is what he has to say about the novel way he chose to mark his father’s death anniversary while posted as a teacher in the Manjari ZP School – “Instead of conducting rituals for my father’s first death anniversary, I chose to donate that money to the school. During his lifetime my father, who was a police inspector, always preferred to donate money to a good social cause or to a needy individual instead of spending on religious rituals. So I thought it would be an appropriate tribute to his memory.”
So Bhamre ‘Sir’ donated a sum of Rs 1,89,000 to the Manjari ZP School, which was used to repair and paint the school building and to purchase new educational aids and materials, like the Mathematics box. But much work still remained to be done, and so the other teachers and the village council came forward to raise the necessary funds. Seven teachers together raised around Rs 1,00,000. Impressed by the enthusiasm of these teachers, the village council too decided to release an equivalent sum for the school’s infrastructure, from the funds that it had received from state the finance department.
The school was completely transformed. Its floor diagrams, done in oil paints, have a shine and lustre; the students have good quality benches and desks; there is a digital classroom; and clean and well-maintained toilets for girls and for boys. The then Cluster Head Gaikwad ‘Sir’ and Extension Officer Almale ‘Sir’ helped prepare the necessary documents and personally contributed towards the related expenses, in order to apply for the ISO certification. Bhamre ‘Sir’ says, “This might be the only example where, inspired by the teachers’ efforts to improve their school, the education officials, too, contributed to the effort. We worked harder and more enthusiastically once they stood with us.”
After the makeover of the Manjari school, Bhamre ‘Sir’ was transferred to the DIEPCD, Latur, as a subject expert on the use of technology. He runs a YouTube channel named ‘Edu Tech Latur’, for which he makes short videos demonstrating the uses of technology in teaching. In 2017, he launched two new apps – ‘STEP’ and ‘E-Calendar’ – both based on ideas provided Trupti Andhare ‘Madam’, Block Education Officer, Latur.
STEP (Solutions for Teachers’ Enquiries and Problems) aims to make available to teachers all such information for which they would otherwise have had to do the rounds of the offices of BEO or District Council. Using this app, teachers can key in their complaints/questions/tasks, which are forwarded as an email to the CEO, the Education Officer, the BEO or other concerned officer in the Education Department in Latur. The app sends a reminder to the officer if there is no response within a specific timeframe. The teachers also receive feedback about the status of their query. Once the query is resolved, any necessary papers related to it are sent to the village council where the teacher is posted. “Our aim, through this app, is to save the teacher time which would otherwise have been spent on administrative work. This way the teacher gets more time to concentrate on teaching and improving the quality of education,” explains Bhamre ‘Sir’.
The other app is the E-Calendar. As is the usual practice, in Latur too, the academic calendar of events is prepared during the summer vacation. The annual plan, prepared by the BEO Trupti Andhare ‘Madam’ and other officers, is now turned into an e-calendar. It lists all relevant events, such as parent and guardian meetings, programmes of the ‘Kanya Suraksha Manch’, teachers’ meetings, films to be shown in film clubs, and so on. These events are then organised according to the dates on the e-calendar.
Both apps can be easily downloaded from Google Play Store. So not only is the Education Department of Latur district making the optimum use of technology, it is making new innovations too!
Blog: Snehal Bansode-Sheludkar
Photos: Raosaheb Bhamre
Translation & editing: samata.shiksha team