Though government schools in Punjab have largely drawn flak over lacking education standards, the picture at government primary school at Ratoke village, 40 km from here, is completely different.
Thanks to the hardships and dedication of Surinder Singh and his wife Renu Singla, over the past 10 years this school has been earning laurels for the village. Not only does this school report 100% result, the strength of students has also doubled over the past one decade and the students excel in extra-curricular activities.
The best part of the school is that besides operating in the normal hours of between 8am and 2pm, the school remains open till 6pm, as special free classes are arranged for students who are weak in studies besides extracurricular activities. Even those who have passed out from the school are allowed to attend free classes for extra guidance.
Surinder said in 2002, the school's strength was 60 and of these, only 30 to 40 came to the school. Presently, the strength has gone up to 140. "We faced a lot of difficulties during the initial phase. We went door-to-door urging villagers to send their children to school. We also convinced them to pull their wards out from primary schools and admit them in the government school," he said.
As a result, even the children from nearby villages, including Dhadrian, Tatipur and Sahoke, joined our school, said a proud Surinder.
With constant efforts of this couple, the students of the schools have brought laurels in district
debate competitions, model presentations and cultural programmes. In sports, its students clinched five out of six medals in different disciplines in inter-district competitions.
Surinder said villagers too supported them and respect their decision regarding school management. "Unlike other schools, there was no political interference. Our sole aim was to make students confident enough to meet the challenges of the competitive world," he said.
Belonging to Mansa district, this couple came to this village in 2002. Initially, they faced a lot of difficulty in commuting daily to this village, but presently they have rented out an accommodation in the village so as to be able to devote their full time to students.
The education department has transferred these two teachers closer to their native place many times, but every time they have managed to get the transfer orders stalled. "We are in no mood to get transferred from here," Surinder quipped.
Village sarpanch Aroohi Singh said both the teachers have become an intrinsic part of the village. "Saade layi tan farishtey hi hann doven jane. They have become a part of the village, as besides taking charge of the school administration, they also participate in the decision making process for the better development of the village," he said.
On August 15 this year, deputy commissioner Kumar Rahul lauded their efforts and honoured them.