Young teacher kindles hope for Govt schools

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IMPHAL, Jun 3: From a humble beginning to changing the attitude of people towards Govt schools in the State, this primary teacher is taking no for an answer in his effort to bring ‘student centred learning’ also known as ‘learner centred education’ to carry forward the idea of producing good students from Govt schools.

In April 2011 Nongmaithem Gautam of Palace Compound, Imphal was selected as a primary teacher on contract basis and was posted at Tangkham Primary School in Imphal East district. “There was literally nothing in the school, no students and even the wall was crumbling down,” Gautam narrated his experience as a teacher to The Sangai Express. Pursuing his passion to teach every student he encounters and give them education, Gautam for two months went door to door asking poor parents of the locality to send their children to school.

After two months, the school for the first time witnessed an increase in students from zero to 33. With little financial assistance and no proper infrastructure, it was hard to teach students with only few benches and desks, he added. With firm determination, he started introducing learner centred education method which proved to be effective in bringing basic concepts in different subjects. With the conviction to fulfil his aspiration he created a Facebook page, ‘Let’s go to school and teach a lesson’ where he invited a network of friends. Gautam also sought the assistance of his Facebook friends.

He got overwhelming response from his friends and finally computer sets, audio speakers, school sign board, sweaters, sports equipment were procured from the contribution or donation of his friends and well wishers, Gautam added. He rapidly garnered the confidence and trust of the parents too. However, he was transferred after regularisation of his service. When information of his transfer came, parents protested his transfer order.
After serving for eight months at Tangkham Primary School, he was posted to Haoreibi Junior High School on Dec 16, 2011. There he started applying his old technique and theory of ‘learner centred education’ and there too students showed signs of improving.
With like-minded teachers of the school, he initiated various development works for students other than providing academic education. Students were taught to care and respect nature by organizing various tree plantation programme and other extracurricular activities.

With the help of his Facebook page ‘Let’s go to school and teach a lesson,’ other school developmental programmes like ‘mission white board’ was initiated in different schools including Haoreibi Junior High School, Khundrakpam Primary School, New Keithelmanbi Upper Primary School, Oinam Girls High School, Sagolband Upper Primary School and Samushang Shantipur Primary School. “A good number of well wishers continue to support the cause of the Facebook page”, Gautam observed.

Even urinal and toilet structures were built for KC High School and Khundrakpam Primary School with contributions from sponsors, he added. Besides, with the help of a number of well wishers other activities like drawing competition, distribution of reading materials of class IX and X including pen, pencils were also initiated under him. Gautam highlighted that after introducing the constructivist approach and innovative ideas to students on learning processes using various ways like clay model and teaching aid have proved to be an effective way to allow students learn through practice. Hands on experience has proved to be the most effective way of teaching young minds, he maintained.

“School is not only a place for students to learn books and mathematical formulae but a place where young minds can be taught various aspects of life like discipline, work culture, punctuality etc,” he maintained. Observing a child behaviour by parents and teachers and appreciating rather than criticizing is the need for the hour with the changing paradigm of teaching methods. He further stated that friendly attitude of teachers towards students should be followed to remove communication gap between students and teachers. Timely monitoring activities from department concerned of the State Govt can prove to be an effective way to improve the condition of Govt run educational institutes across the State, he added.

When asked on what could be the main reason for disparity between students of Govt School and private school, he said that lack of foundation course for students studying in State run schools could be one of the main reasons. Development and maintaining proper infrastructure for schools is needed to attract students and provide quality education where teachers are frequently updated with their teaching methods by sending them for training sessions should be introduced by the authorities, he added. When there is sincerity in one’s field and belongingness to the profession, there we can see some changes happening, Gautam said.

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