Teachers across Maharashtra have managed to raise a whopping Rs 216 crore from the public to revamp classrooms, build new toilets and going the digital way for providing better education to school children. According to the data available with the Maharashtra State Council of Education Research and Training (MSCERT), Ahmednagar district has ensured the maximum public participation, having raised over Rs 30 crore, followed by Pune (Rs 19.82 crore), Solapur (19.03 crore), Aurangabad (15.59 crore) and Nashik (14.80 crore).
What inspired the teachers?
According to Nand Kumar, principal secretary, state education department, one of the reasons for this effort could be the Pragat Shaikshanik programme rolled out by the state government two years ago.
One of the components of the programme was the compulsory reporting of public participation. Until now, schools didn’t actively seek outside funds. But now, since the programme documents public participation, teachers have started actively reaching out to the community, encouraging them to contribute and also seeking corporate help.
Initiative yielding positive results
With public money being used for the right purposes, there has been an overall improvement in the quality of education, reflected in many recent surveys, due to which villagers have started investing in zila parishad schools.
Most of the schools have now an LCD projector, a laptop and Wi-Fi-enabled classrooms.
While in most districts, the change is being brought about by the community as a whole, Dhule district, said to be the first in the state to have 100 per cent digital classrooms in its government schools. An idea that started off with nine schools has now covered all 1,103 zila parishad schools of Dhule.
The public participation has also given full autonomy to teachers and that has led to some innovative methods. At the Kardelwadi zila parishad school in Pune’s Shirur taluka, every donated item – from the table fan to even blackboard dusters – has the name of the sponsor. Teachers feel that such practice encourages more people to donate.
“It gives them a sense of fulfillment and it doesn’t really take anything from us. So we started writing the names of the donors. Now for almost anything we need, we just turn to the villagers and they get it for us instantly,” said a teacher reportedly.