Sanjay Singh: Improving Chhattisgarh’s Literacy Rate

A Teacher’s Quest for Purpose in Life Drives Him to Improve Chattisgarh’s Literacy Rate
Sanjay Singh, Disha Public School, Kawardha, Chhattisgarh

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Sanjay Singh, Disha Public School, Kawardha, Chhattisgarh
Disha Public School, Kawardha, Chhattisgarh

Background

With a population roughly touching the 30 million mark, Chhattisgarh currently faces a real challenge in education, vividly highlighted by data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS). The state’s literacy rate, at 70.3%, falls below the national average of 74.4%. Even more disturbing is the situation in rural areas, where the literacy rate dips to a worrisome 60.6%.

For Sanjay Singh, these statistics were more than mere numbers; they resonated deeply, aligning with his own goals and path. Driven by his father’s dedication as a lab technician and his consistent contributions to society, Sanjay felt a compelling duty to champion community development. Reflecting on his past, he says, “My father always believed that any contribution to society, regardless of its nature, gives life its purpose.” Such upbringing has instilled in him a strong commitment and the ambition to effect meaningful change throughout his career.

In 1991,Sanjay’s life took a significant turn when he unexpectedly embraced the role of a teacher at another school nearby, following a brief stint as a lab technician. Over the next 11 years, he not only sharpened his teaching skills but also gained invaluable insights into the education system. Through this journey, he keenly noticed a disparity between the community’s educational needs and the available resources. This observation led to the idea of founding a school for the less privileged children of Chhattisgarh. “Our motive behind starting the Disha Public School was to bridge the educational gap in rural areas and uplift the region’s literacy standards,” Sanjay elaborates.

Sanjay Singh, Disha Public School, Kawardha, Chhattisgarh

The Journey

Sanjay began his journey in 2001 by creating a coaching institute, a small seed that grew into the prestigious Disha Public School, initially catering to pre-primary children. Eager to expand it to higher education levels, he made extra efforts to boost its educational standards. He recalls, “We faced a major challenge in securing funds to expand and establish facilities for higher education Nevertheless, our ambition remained unshaken and all of us continued to nurture and advance the school’s growth.”

Disha Public School, located in the serene village of Khuntu, Kawardha, Chhattisgarh, now stands tall with its unique educational philosophy that transcends commercial interests. Sanjay emphasizes, “Our school isn’t centered on profits; it’s about catalyzing positive change in the lives of rural children. Education is our passion.” As the school’s director, Sanjay is committed to providing affordable, quality education to economically weaker children in Chhattisgarh.

He shares, “Currently, our school is home to 731 students, creating a vibrant learning community. With the help of 29 dedicated and skilled teachers, we’re instilling a culture of learning, discipline, and a love for reading.” 

His school has also incorporated visual aids to improve the learning environment.

Also Read: A School Leader Who Doesn’t Ask for Recognition

Tackling COVID-19  

Amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school faced an economic crisis. However, the school management exhibited resilience by guiding the faculty to transition to online teaching.”During this period,” Sanjay remembers, “we focused on vital subjects like language skills, arithmetic, and environmental understanding. We also took proactive measures to ensure that both students and teachers were well-informed about pandemic safety measures.”

Sanjay affirms, “To facilitate a smooth shift to virtual classrooms, we arranged remote teaching workshops and offered technical support to our teachers.”

Relationship with Varthana

“In 2019, we found ourselves at a crossroad when expanding our infrastructure required significant financial resources. It was during this time that Varthana stepped in as a valuable partner. They promptly provided the required loan amount, reducing the school’s financial constraints,” Sanjay says, conveying his appreciation. He adds, “With this financial support, we were able to improve the school’s infrastructure, adding new classrooms, recreational spaces, and advanced teaching facilities. These upgrades significantly improved the learning journey for our students.” He deeply appreciates Varthana’s quick loan approval and disbursement, underscoring their commitment to aiding schools during challenging times.

Also Read: How This School Leader is Promoting Quality Education in a Challenging Locale

Achievements

Disha Public School’s dedication to education has garnered recognition. In 2020, the school clinched the Quality Schools Governance Award at the National Private School Awards. Proud Sanjay claims “This accolade demonstrates our school’s strong governance practices and overall educational excellence.”

In terms of innovation, Sanjay elaborates, “We’ve introduced several initiatives to enhance students’ learning journeys. A prime example is our Book Bank project which ensures that students have free textbooks and unrestricted access to educational resources.” 

Moreover, his school also features a well-equipped computer lab with internet connectivity, empowering students with essential digital skills.

The institution’s modern approach extends beyond the classroom. They have introduced extracurricular activities such as sports, music, and art to ensure the holistic development of the students. Sanjay goes on to saying, “Our school has excelled and won multiple awards at district and state-level competitions.”

Vision

The success of Disha Public School has also inspired other educational initiatives in the area. Sanjay’s influence, for instance, has led to the creation of a local library and mentorship for teachers in neighbouring schools.

His journey from a teacher to the head of Disha Public School embodies his commitment to providing accessible and impactful education. “This school stands as a shining symbol of quality education for every child, regardless of their background. Every child deserves the chance for a brighter future,” Sanjay concludes, his smile radiating joy.

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