Legacy of Education: Rural Chhattisgarh Transformation | Varthana

A Businessman Turned School Leader Honoring His Family Legacy By Bringing Quality Education To Rural Chhattisgarh

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Kanhaiya Lal Sahu Vedic Convent School, Janjgir Champa, Chhattisgarh

Hemant Kumar Sahu, Kanhaiya Lal Sahu Vedic Convent School, Janjgir Champa, Chhattisgarh

In 1995, Hemant Kumar Sahu’s father and great-uncle, Kanhaiya Lal Sahu, had the idea to start a college in Hasaud block for higher education. They aimed to educate all rural children in the area, leading to the establishment of Kanhaiya Lal Sahu Vadik Convent College and School in 1996 and 1998, respectively. Now leading the school venture, Hemant passionately states, “Our mission was clear — to bring higher education to the rural youth.” Today, for students in remote areas, the school stands as a ray of hope.

Reflecting on the journey, Hemant shares, “Establishing the school was a dream our elders envisioned and nurtured to light up the futures of our village. It’s not just about education; it’s about sparking possibilities and aspirations in every student we reach.”

History and Leadership 

Hemant has been serving as the secretary of the Hasaud Mahamaya Educational Committee since 1996. The college offers 740 regular seats for arts and science streams with 200 registered students. Talking about his role, Hemant notes, “Being a part of the educational committee has been a fulfilling journey, contributing to the growth of our college.” 

He further shares that to streamline operations, the school employs monitoring software, overseeing day-to-day tasks like admissions, fee collection, results, and CCTV surveillance. This technological integration reflects the school’s dedication to providing a seamless and secure educational environment for its students. Hemant’s leadership is not just administrative; it’s a testament to his vision for the continual improvement and success of the educational experience at the institution.

A Businessman Turned School Leader Honoring His Family Legacy By Bringing Quality Education To Rural Chhattisgarh

School Leader’s Background

Before leading the school, Hemant had a diverse career, working as a businessman in machine fabrication, serving in private companies, and contributing to the Jindal power plant. Upon returning to his village, he engaged in farming and started a machine fabrication business to support his family. He shares, “My path involved a mix of business, work in companies, and even power plant service, all leading me back to my roots.” While managing his business, Hemant also played a crucial role in overseeing the college and school. In 1996, he fully embraced the responsibility as the committee secretary.

Impact of COVID-19

The Kanhaiya Lal Sahu Vadik Convent, like many in India, faced challenges during the COVID-19pandemic, leading to its closure in March 2020. Hemant says, “The pandemic brought unique challenges, impacting our finances and student attendance.” Issues included student migration, difficulties in transferring students to government schools without Transfer Certificates and non-payment of fees.

According to Hemant, the school incurred a loss of seven lakh rupees in March 2020 due to student migration. The Government of India introduced a nationwide rule for direct promotion without TC and exams, supporting students and parents but financially straining the private education system. “While the rule helped families, it added financial stress to our school, making efficient operations difficult,” Hemant expresses.

Also Read: Determined School Leader Transforms Rural Education With Quality Education And Strong Relationships

The school’s affordable fee structure also contributed to financial challenges, aggravated by the Government of Chhattisgarh’s directive to reduce private school fees during COVID-19, causing financial losses for schools. Additionally, the school faced significant learning loss, as only a few students regularly attended online classes, impacting the continuity of education. The school leader notes, “Ensuring student participation in online classes was a shared responsibility, but the financial strain led to concerns from parents about paying fees for perceived gaps in education provision.”

Hemant Kumar Sahu, Kanhaiya Lal Sahu Vedic Convent School, Janjgir Champa, Chhattisgarh

His Response

After the school’s reopening, the management advised teachers to conduct regular, shorter-duration classes. They initiated pre-assessments to gauge students’ levels and targeted those needing extra help. Hemant states,” The school is currently dedicated to elevating education to the necessary standards by consistently training teachers.” 

The Challenges of Online Learning 

The school faced notable learning setbacks during online classes, with only a few students attending regularly, disrupting the flow of education. “Online classes presented challenges, and ensuring student participation became a joint effort with parents, who questioned fee payments for perceived shortcomings,” Hemant adds. Despite the responsibility falling on parents, concerns arose about the quality of education provided for the fees paid.

Upon reopening, the school took steps to address these challenges. Teachers were advised to conduct regular, shorter-duration classes, and pre-assessments were conducted to identify students needing extra attention. He emphasizes, “Our focus post-reopening has been on proactive teaching methods and addressing learning gaps to ensure every student catches up.”

Relationship with Varthana

In 2017, Hemant conceived the idea of replacing the tin shedding and constructing new classrooms. Sharing about this idea, he adds, “Typically, school committees don’t secure loans for minor infrastructure projects, but Varthana reached out to us. They handled all the paperwork and promptly provided the necessary funds.” Hemant expresses, “Varthana came to our aid precisely when we needed funds to rebuild our classrooms. Their support empowered us to reconstruct and open our doors to more students. We are truly grateful for Varthana’s invaluable assistance.”

Future Plans

In the coming years, the school aims to enhance its daily operations, elevate education standards, and increase parental involvement through collaborative homework and activities. They also plan to regularly conduct Parent-Teacher Meetings (PTMs), a practice that has been on hold for the past three years.

Looking ahead, Hemant shares,”’Our goal is to strengthen the school’s foundation, engage parents more, and ensure quality education for every student.”The Kanhaiya Lal Sahu Vadik Convent School has a proud history of providing higher education to rural students. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the school remains optimistic about the future, committed to delivering quality education to all its students.

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