Located in Dadri, Greater Noida, Primary School Chithera is reshaping its education system in the most innovative way. The school has been able to do so with the help of the SRF Foundation, who are implementing the CSR initiative of Indigo Airlines’ to improve the condition of schools all over India.
The condition of the school a year ago was pitiful. The infrastructure was falling to pieces, toilets and drinking water facilities were defunct, the attendance was low and high-dropout rates were troublesome for the school authorities.
Ever since Indigo adopted the school a year ago, things have radically changed for good and today this school acts as a role-model for many government schools.
The Infrastructural Changes in the School
- Welcoming classrooms
The students in this school tell a tale of those days when they had to sit in dark, dirty rooms with a leaking roof.
Arman, a class 8th student, joined this school after leaving a well-renowned private school, City Heart Academy.
“I left City Heart Academy because the teachers there didn’t emphasize on studies. The teachers there took us to the science lab, made us do nothing and by the end of the practical class were back in classes,” said Arman.
He says that Chithera village school allows children to do practical on their own. He has been in this school for one year now.
“We didn’t have science lab manuals, microscope or any equipment a year ago but today we have everything and there is a mandatory science lab class every day.”
- A room full of books
A room with shelves full of books. This would probably be the best way to describe the library of Primary School Chithera. What was before a room with no books and leaking roof, is now a well-furnished and well-stocked library. The change is visible with happiness written large across the faces of students who are happy to get new books in their school.
The library is stacked with books suitable for all age groups. The shelves are divided according to the reading level of the students. The members of the Reading Club Committee had the keys to the book racks and were responsible for issuing books.
Reading level 1 had books for aspiring readers and only had picture books with one or two lines of text on each page. Reading level 2 had books with pictures and three to four lines of text on each page.
Similarly, reading level 3 is meant for emergent readers with more complex sentences. Books kept in Reading level 4 section had books with more pages and longer sentences. The last level, reading level 5 was meant for fluent readers with more text, varied topics and challenging vocabulary.
“I always liked to read and write. With so many new books here, I spend most of my sitting in the library. I feel really happy reading and wish to continue my studies even after Grade 8,” said Riya Kataria, a class 8th student.
“Being a government enterprise, our school faced a lot of hurdles in providing books to the students. Getting books was a little too far-fetched for us, as we only got chalk and brooms from the government. With the help of the SRF Foundation, we have not only provided every student with books but have also established a library of our own,” said Mr. Inderjeet Singh, English teacher of the school.
- Sense of Entitlement for Students
“We have formed Reading Club Committees in our school to inculcate a habit of reading in our students,” said Ms. Rajni Sharma, Principal, Primary School Chithera, Greater Noida.
“We have distributed badges to those who enrolled themselves in the Reading Club Committee. This not only gives the members of the club a sense of entitlement but also encourages other students to become a member of the club too,” said Ms. Kusum Rani, Hindi teacher of the school.
With better facilities, the school’s enrollment ratio has shot up. We just had 120 students two years back, which has now gone to 390 students, added Ms. Rani.
“We are really happy that we finally have a library in our school. I feel good being a member of the club. We are responsible for issuing books to the students and ensuring they read and learn,” said Shawez Malik, member of the Reading Club Committee of the school.
Video by Debomitra Das
The Changes in Hygiene in the School
While both Arman and Shwaez are relatively new to the school, Riya Kataria, 13, and Simran Mewati, 15, are the first-ever students of this school.
They said that their parents were losing interest in sending them to school but both the girls somehow managed to study from the last eight years.
After the re-development of school, their parents want them to continue their studies and complete their education.
“We used to study in boring, dirty and leaking rooms but after the redevelopment, we have almost everything that a private school has,” said Riya Kataria.
Agreeing with Riya, Simran Mewati added, “There were no toilet blocks here. It was very embarrassing for us to practice open defecation. The place used to become so dirty that we often used to fall sick. There was no availability of sanitary napkins but today the things are different. We have some really supportive teachers who help us in every way possible. We now have clean and separate toilets for boys and girls. Things have changed for good.”
Text by Harshit Mansukhani and Shivanshi Tomer
Photos by Akansha Yadav and Shivanshi Tomer
Videos by Harshit Mansukhani and Debomitra Das
Podcast by Aditi Tyagi
Multimedia Report by Group 1