The ZP school at Vablewadi in Shirur tehsil of Pune district – Part 2
People’s participation has meant a variety of resources being added to the Vablewadi school. The students are now well-versed in handling computers as well as tabs. The entire school has Wi-Fi coverage, and students may access the internet for videos, songs and games related to their curriculum.
Another impressive achievement is that the school has become self-reliant for its electricity needs. Earlier, just like any other small village of Maharashtra, Vablewadi too had its share of power outages. This would hinder its e-learning and digitalisation programmes. Some villagers came together to help the school tap into solar energy, and today not only can the school satisfy its own needs but there is also enough power for streetlights on a few roads in the village.
As visit came to an end, and we prepared to leave, the best surprise was yet to come! Principal Ware ‘Sir’ took us around to the back of the school building. We climbed up the school compound wall with the help of a short ladder, and entered what seemed like an open field with some construction work going on. The structures being constructed there seemed unusual. Ware ‘Sir’ explained, “This is a surprise that we are planning for our students in the coming academic year. We all know that children do not like to be confined in a closed classroom all day long. They like to be out in the open. My students had shared their desire to study in a school with lots of sunlight, breeze and large windows. We are trying to fulfill this dream.”
As he spoke, we learned that the village had donated this land for the school because the present building was too small, and that the new dream school was being built with financial aid from the Bank of New York! The bank offered a helping hand after becoming aware of the various innovative ideas and teaching methods in use here. Ware ‘Sir’ told us that these environment-friendly classrooms would have large sliding windows that would help students feel close to nature. The classrooms are being built atop huge underground tanks that will be used for rainwater harvesting. And, of course, the electricity for these rooms will come from solar energy.
The teachers here pay special attention to Science and to computers, as they believe that these aspects are of utmost importance for students in our present times. Ware ‘Sir’ also has plans for a ‘Science and Information Technology lab’ in the school.
One student has designed an eco-friendly hand- wash station out of an old oil tin, and these are installed at various places throughout the school. The design has reduced the water use of the school from 200 to 50 litres per day. Students have also made a hand-wash soap from ash and neem leaves. These initiatives ensure that hygiene is maintained, even in times of water scarcity.
Ware ‘Sir’ speaks of having been influenced by the Japanese philosphy of ‘Kaizen’ (continuous improvement). In business, kaizen refers to activities that keep improving all functioning, and involve all employees from the CEO to factory floor workers. Ware ‘Sir’ applies the same concept to the holistic development of the school and of its students. The results are palpable among the students who, along with their formal study subjects, are learning the principles of cleanliness, self-reliance and discipline.
In 2016, Dattatreya Warey, Principal of Vablewadi School, received the President’s Award for Best Teacher. Ware ‘Sir’ has transformed this ZP school to such an extent that even parents of students in nearby CBSC and English medium schools are opting to send their children to this school instead.
Blog and photos: Snehal Bansode-Sheludkar
Translation and editing: samata.shiksha team