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Posted at: Aug 11, 2018, 2:32 AM; last updated: Aug 11, 2018, 3:06 PM (IST)

Teachers on mission turnaround

Highly motivated, they are changing face of govt primary schools in Punjab

Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 10

There is a set of government primary schools in Punjab that will surprise you — not by their lack of upkeep, rather the opposite. Walls decorated with art work, poems and educative information; greenery all around; clean playgrounds; neatly laid out libraries; and in most cases even toilets cleaner than home.

Most of these are the outcome of personal initiatives of highly motivated teachers. The state Department of School Education has now identified 450 such teachers to bring them under an umbrella of coordination to take the movement further.

The identified teachers have been assigned 10 primary schools each in their area, where they will inspire and guide the staff to undertake transformation with a target of December 31. In all, there are 13,000 primary schools in the state.

Secretary (School Education) Krishan Kumar, a few months back, selected a team of four such teachers — Harjinder Singh Grewal, Amarjit Singh, Labhjit Singh and Anju Bhardwaj — to coordinate the programme.

Using innovative teaching methods and material, the schools of these ‘guide’ teachers have demonstrated impressive academic results already under the parameters of the “Padho Punjab, Padhao Punjab” programme, with which the current transformation plan has been associated. The proof of their work also lies in the fact that many schools have waiting lists for admission, and several of these teachers have admitted their own children in the government schools. Most of the teachers involved in the change have achieved results without government help. They have instead motivated village residents to contribute in any way they can — physical labour or financial contribution.

Gurvinder Singh, the face behind Government Primary School, Sadoheri (Patiala), says, “Our village panchayat spent Rs 1.5 lakh on the gate, and the five teachers here contribute Rs 2,000 each per month. Individual villagers also contribute for any major works needed. Team work is the key to our success.” Many donors even ask the schools not to display their names on any boards.

Jagtar Singh, proud sarpanch of Kalburcchan village in Samana, says, “Our primary school was undistinguished for over five decades, till a young Harjinder Grewal joined as a teacher in 2006. The day after, he was seen in the ground in his vest, without shoes, clearing weeds. It was a matter of time before we joined him.” Two years later, Grewal sought transfer to another school that was in a pitiable condition. But in Kalburcchan, he was luckily replaced by Banit Kumar, who took the school forward from where he took over.

Stories of inspiration are spread across the state. Rajinder Kumar in a school in Bada Bhaike village in Faridkot turned down a promotion so he could stay in his present posting and not interrupt the ongoing work. Amarjit Singh in Mansa has created ingenious student-friendly exercises and apparatus to promote science. Manjinder Kaur in Nurpur East, Jalandhar, is using paper craft to create teaching material. Harpreet Singh Diwana in Bihla village of Barnala has involved a former BSF inspector, Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal, and several NRIs in transforming the school since 2009.

Padho Punjab, Padhao Punjab

This is a programme introduced by the current government aimed at fixing greater responsibility on teachers by evaluating the academic standards of students. While no student is failed, all are evaluated twice a year.

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