Story Edited and Corrected by Prof. P Ramesh Kumar
It is not often that one hears of pupils leaving a private school to join a government-run primary and upper primary school.
However, it is now commonplace at the Primary and Upper-Primary School in the village of Chithera in Dadri.
Just a year ago, the school structure was crumbling. The school was struggling with a high dropout rate and low attendance.
More so, defunct toilets and lack of access to clean drinking water made the school an uninhabitable place.
Things started changing when Indigo adopted the school under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.
Since then, the building has been renovated. Necessary facilities like toilets, clean water drinking units were installed. New rooms for smart-classes, library and science labs and a playground were constructed. A smart bus to hold computer practical for students and community movie screening was also delivered.
As a result, the enthusiasm to study and teach is palpable among the students and teachers.
A link to the video made by Harshit Mansukhani on the village school
Infrastructural Changes in the School
The students in this school reminisce the days when they had to sit in dark, dirty rooms with a leaking roof.
Arman, a class 8 student, joined this school after leaving a renowned private school, City Heart Academy.
“I left City Heart Academy because the teachers there didn’t emphasise 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 our classroom,” said Arman.
He said that Chithera village school allows children to do practicals on their own. He has been in this school for one year now.
“We didn’t have science lab manuals, microscope, or any equipment until a year ago but today we have everything and there is a mandatory science lab class every day.”
Arman’s classmate Shawez Malik echoed his words. Malik has been in this school for four years now and vividly recalled the difference in the classes.
“The classrooms were boring four years ago. There were no windows and the entire classroom was just a pile of stones. In the monsoon season, the room used to get flooded with dirty water.” Malik said.
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 managed to study for the last eight years.
After the renovation of the school, their parents want them to continue studies.
“We used to study in dirty and leaking rooms but after the renovation, we have almost everything that a private school ought to have,” said Riya Kataria.
Agreeing with Riya, Simran Mewati added, “There were no toilet blocks here. It was very embarrassing for us to defecate in the open. The place used to become so dirty that we often fell sick.”
Simran added that sanitary napkins were not available those days but today things were different. “We have supporting teachers who understand the human body. We have clean and separate toilets for boys and girls. We don’t fall that sick anymore,” She said.
The school has also undergone a digital transformation in the past year. It is now equipped with a smart class and a smart bus that can hold a computer practical class for 30 students.