|Date: 4th feb, 2013
Where: Umrain, Alwar
When: around 10.30am
This article is dedicated to the spirit of the Lion’s Heart.
There were still a few more minutes left before the gates of the school were to open. Children were lining up around the walls; some were even trying to jump through the gates. A class teacher soon arrived and began a warm conversation. We hadn’t even entered the school and we already knew that the school has a computer centre, has a website of its own, has a group of children who volunteer to carry out activities within the school and support the website. These 15-20 children 12 year olds impressively introduced themselves as the Lion’s Heart team.
The name is an inspiration from the teams of the popular IPL cricket series. Likewise, the children looked confident and enthusiastic. They said that they know how to operate on computers; they knew Microsoft word, paint and PC games too, like IGA.
We entered the premises and found the walls painted with beautiful colours all around, a banyan tree that shadowed the anganwadi centre in the middle of the ground, a rain water harvesting system, special toilet facility for the physically challenged.
Children were excited to meet us (the new visitors), while their teacher reminded them to get to their morning duties. Within moments we saw children divide themselves in groups and reach to their respective areas of the school. Some picked up the broom and started cleaning the classrooms, some spread the carpet, others picked up garbage where ever they could find. The assembly soon followed, in which children repeated morning messages, some religious hymns and heard the Head Master’s words on the importance of education. After the assembly, children were instructed to collect any little piece of garbage that could be around them. The little hands separated candy wrappers from the dirt on the ground while walking in a line towards their respective classrooms.
In least words, I wouldn’t hesitate to describe the school as a brilliant model of a government run school; driven by a child-centred philosophy, teamed up with a set of motivated teachers, developing children to be able to taking independent initiatives, all under a strong infrastructure and other facilities within its given circumstances. And yet, there were challenges with repairs beyond my scope of research would have allowed.
These children they come from their homes in the morning, all cleaned up after a bath, wearing clean clothes and we are regret to make them clean the school like this each passing day. It is a painful sight, but we encourage them anyhow by saying that keeping our surroundings clean and working in group is a good quality to learn and we must not hesitate in doing so. But Madame, you tell us, what choice we are left with when the govt. doesn’t allow us to hire a cleaner/helper to keep the schools clean regularly. I request you to please take a note of this situation and take this issue somewhere higher where some action can be taken.
If you are a researcher, you can very well relate to a situation such as this when our scope of work seems limited and we feel we can only do so much. I questioned myself, what can I possibly do to take this message to the right place. The first thing that struck was to at least begin to communicate these experiences. At the beginning of any change, there is first a rustle about the issues. Not matter how small the voice maybe, it is a primal step towards a larger change.
A discussion followed by this and many more articles is bound to generate a ripple effect that eventually will lead to the development we all seek.
I urge you to share your experiences of being in the field. Let us pledge to create a platform where we can discuss early childhood development. And thus, hope to highlight issues that tend to go unspoken, unheard and often hushed in the light of our scope of work.
For more information about the school and its activities, visit their website- http://bandipura.alwarschools.org/