The tiny Gundlubari Primary School in the Hura Block of the Purulia District in West Bengal is a unique institution. The school employs novel teaching methods, and the ambience is education-friendly. In fact, once you step inside the school, you cannot help but notice the clean premises, the surrounding greenery and interesting graffiti on the walls.
All this is thanks to the collective efforts of the headmaster Pratap Mahato, and his assistant teacher Rupali Mahato, who have ensured that no stone was left unturned, to improve the quality of life of the poor children here.
“Since I joined the school in 2014, I endeavoured to make it unique to attract students and give them all-round development. For this, the assistant teacher and I have been spending Rs 4,000 from our salary every month,” said Pratap, to the Indian Express.
Pratap recalls that when he joined the school, the infrastructure was not up to the mark and very few students would turn up. He held intensive meetings with the villagers, to motivate them to send their children to school, and his efforts paid off! From a measly 20, the student strength has gone up to 79.
“Most of the families are poor daily wage-earners. Previously they stayed away for six months in search of jobs taking their children along. Now they leave their children with other family members because they see a future for their children and themselves in a better school environment. Hence there are hardly any dropouts here,” he informed IE.
The school library is stocked with books and handmade crafts made by the students from reused material, there is a tank in the school premises that is used for rain-water harvesting, the healthy mid-day meal kitchen employs cooks from self-help groups (SHGs), and there is even a meditation room. All these features are immensely popular and have helped the school to retain the existing students while drawing in newer ones.
In addition to the above, Rupali Mahato, the assistant teacher, mentions that they also conduct extra classes for kids, like dancing, drawing, singing and gardening.
Pratap signs off by acknowledging the people who have helped him to keep up the good work all these years.
You may also like:– Using His Savings & Salary, Kolkata Cop Feeds, Clothes & Teaches Needy Kids
“I am thankful to our BDO for helping us with a computer, an LPG gas connection, fire extinguisher and for always supporting us. The teachers and students take care of the garden and all the things. If there is any other work the villagers have also helped us,” he said.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)