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School is home for these 40 students at Shahapur

The school, which has classes from 1 to 4, has recorded full attendance and no dropouts

mumbai Updated: Jul 01, 2018 00:57 IST
Ankita Menon
Ankita Menon
Hindustan Times
Shahapur,Thane,Maharashtra
Students of Vidyalaya Kutumbakam(HT Photo)

The road to Vidyalaya Kutumbakam is as beautiful as the school.

But, as you reach Shahapur and head towards Desalepada village, the rickety road journey begins amid the beautiful mountains on one side and lush greenery on the other.

After passing through narrow lanes with small houses on both sides, you will reach the school — a small structure with a board that reads Vidyalaya Kutumbakam, which means school is home.

The non-descript Marathi medium zilla parishad primary school is abuzz with students, who are free to sit wherever they are comfortable — on the floor on benches. They are made to feel like home.

The chirpy bunch of 40 children greets visitors with shouts of joy.

Walls painted with colourful artwork, open spaces and neatly stacked book shelves are a draw for students.

They have never missed school.

The school, which has classes from 1 to 4, has recorded full attendance and no dropouts in the past decade. Most children belong to tribal families. The villagers encourage children to attend school every day.

Mangla Doiphode, 36, joined here as a teacher a few years ago.

Her first job here has been exciting but challenging. “Children learn counting and calculations through games,” she said.

Kumudini Nirbhiwane, 55, is the school principal but also helps take classes.

“There are English-medium primary schools in Vasind, the nearest city. But, most villagers prefer sending children to our school as we ensure proper education and facilities,” said Nirbhiwane.

The teachers visit the construction sites and enroll children.

Students all sit in a semicircle as soon as the class begins, they are eager to answer.

“We take them to the fields or small waterfalls to teach geography or science subjects. It is easier for the children to understand if the concepts are in front of them,” said Doiphode, who received the State Adarsh Shikshika or Ideal teacher award in 2016-2017.

Children excitedly change their position as soon as the projector is switched on.

“The teachers are always eager to support us or mentor the womenfolk. Once, they have traced a child whose family had moved out of the village,” said Pragati Mhatre, 31, whose three children study in the school.

The teachers have themselves prepared teaching aids. The school also has two special children, who are given extra care and help to learn.

NET SUPPORT

ZPschool Desalepada is a Facebook page created by Mangla Doiphode. This teacher is keen to spread word about the achievements of the school and ensures to post every new activity on this page.

Through this page, Samata Shiksha, an organisation that helps teachers with resources and teaching aides, started supporting the school.

Support from locals

The villagers pooled money to buy a projector for the school which cost around Rs17,000. “The villagers pay what they can for any requirement in the school. Some who can’t afford help with electricity work or any other work in the school,” said Vilas More, president of School Management Council.

First Published: Jul 01, 2018 00:56 IST