Although the ‘Pragat Shaikshanik Maharashtra’ programme in the state is in full swing, from time to time it is necessary to take a first hand look at how it is being implemented, along with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan programme. So, from 12-21 December 2016, officials of the Maharashtra Prathamik Shikshan Parishad (MPSP) organised a study tour of Gadchiroli District in Maharashtra. The talukas selected were Bhamragad and Gadchiroli, and the tour was led by Nand Kumar, Principal Secretary, School Education and Sports.
Presiding over a review meeting of area officials in Gadchiroli, Nand Kumar emphasised the need to spread education in this remote area situated within dense forest. Education, he said, was the only way to progress. He asked the officials and teachers to ensure that every child goes to school and gets educated in a joyful manner; that not a single child is deprived of such an education.
He urged them to work diligently towards achieving the goals of the ‘Pragat Shaikshanik Maharashtra’ programme. “Try to understand the psyche of the students, nurture in them the trust that we are there for them,” he advised, adding that officials and teachers, too, needed to forge a mutual bond. He also underlined the usefulness of technology, and suggested that special attention be paid to Maths.
Vikram Singh Yadav, Deputy Director of MPSP, Assistant Director Pramod Gaonkar and other members attended the review meeting. The CEO of the District, Principal of the District Education and Continual Progress Institute, education officers from the Primary as well as Secondary sections of the Education Department, along with several centre heads, extension officers and cluster heads from Gadchiroli were also present. ‘Pratibimb’, a book of poems written by a student from Murkhada centre and edited by the centre head, Shri Vadpalliwar, was released by Nand Kumar.
All schools within Bhamragad Taluka and the two centres of Gatta and Ghotsur from Etapalli Taluka had been selected for the study tour. On the first day, the group met Aniketdada and Samikshatai Amte of Lokbiradari at Hemalkasa and disussed the tour plan with them. 32 study groups were created for the tour.
As the entire district is hilly and remote, with the threat of attacks by insurgents ever-present, it was not possible to access all the places by car. The schools were situated across rivers, in valleys or hills, and even on forest trails. To reach every school, the officials had to use motorcycles, boats, sometimes even walk the distance.
All school accounts and related documents were inspected during the tour to get a ground level perspective on how the different educational welfare schemes of the government were being implemented in such a remote district. In some areas, the group also visited the parents of students to learn what they thought of the schools.
As Etapalli and Bhamragad are both Adivasi talukas, the spoken language there is Madia, which means learning in Marathi poses problems. In addition, given that most adivasi families fall well below the poverty line, many children start working very young. Thus, there was a strong possibility of there being many children out of school. The visiting officers asked the local teachers and officers to be extra vigilant to ensure that there were no dropouts.
The officers also tried to find out whether the teachers were regular, and taught well. They found teacher performance not up to the mark in some areas, and emphasised to these teachers that they needed to work towards changing the situation. Quoting the saying, “A teacher’s satisfaction lies in her students’ progress”, they urged teachers to ensure that students attended school regularly and received education in a joyful manner, in their own mother tongue.
The officers in the group praised the efforts of teacher Vineet Padmavar for the positive changes taking place in the ZP school at Bejur in Bhamragad taluka. They urged the other schools in the area to follow his lead.
On the last day of the tour, the group visited the schools run by the ‘Lokbiradari project’ in Hemalkasa. They reviewed the classes as well as the projects right from KG to secondary school. They visited the hostel facilities, and took note of the role of e-learning and other initiatives in enhancing the quality of learning. They also visited the Kasturba Gandhi Girls’ school to review the situation there.
This study tour gave the higher officials an opportunity to visit a remote and hilly area like Gadchiroli and get first hand information about the educational conditions and the problems there. There is no doubt that this will lead to positive changes and effective solutions to the problems there.
Officers from MPSP, Mumbai, participated in this tour. They were assisted by the Gadchiroli District resource centre and Bhamragad Cluster resource centre.
Blog: Nakul Lanjewar, Teacher, Zilla Parishad Primary School, Kosbi, Armori Taluka, Gadchiroli District.
Translation and editing: samata.shiksha team