From Bicycling Students to School to Championing Affordable Education in Durg, This School Leader Inspires Vinay Kumar, Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya, Durg, Chhattisgarh

From Bicycling Students to School to Championing Affordable Education in Durg, This School Leader Inspires
Vinay Kumar, Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya, Durg, Chhattisgarh

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Vinay Kumar, Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya, Durg, Chhattisgarh
Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya, Durg, Chhattisgarh

Every child has a fundamental right to quality education. Yet, in many rural areas like Durg in Chhattisgarh, access to affordable education remains a challenge. Recognizing this, Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya has been delivering affordable and quality education to children in these rural communities since 2008. This is the inspiring story of a school leader who always stayed true to his mission.

The beginning of Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya

Back in 2008, when Vinay Kumar was working in Bhilai Nagar Nigam, he had a dream to give children from rural areas of Durg a chance to get a good education that was also affordable. His sister-in-law, Rekha Meshram, shared this vision. So, they teamed up and opened Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya in a rented building with just 43 students from kindergarten to 4th grade.

Vinay even took on the role of transport, ferrying students to and from school on his bicycle to meet parents’ demands.

Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya is run by the Astha Educational Committee, with Rekha serving as the president. This committee was set up to provide a platform for educators and social workers to improve education standards in the Durg district. It continues to strive towards the goal of making quality education accessible to all.

Facilities at the school

“Our school is home to 12 well-educated teachers who regularly undergo professional development training to keep their teaching methods up-to-date,” shares Vinay. “We currently have 275 students, although pre-COVID, our student body stood at 349. We’ve always valued open communication with parents, scheduling parent-teacher meetings every month. However, since the pandemic, we’ve had some trouble getting parents to come to these meetings. Our school takes pride in providing separate classrooms and restroom facilities for boys and girls, ensuring the comfort and safety of our students. Additionally, we take steps to lessen the financial burden on families by providing notebooks for all our students,” he adds.

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

Overcoming challenges during Covid-19

“The pandemic hit our school hard,” says Vinay, the weight of the challenge palpable in his tone. “A lot of students dropped out and many didn’t attend our online classes. As a result, the learning levels plummeted, and recovery is proving to be a steep uphill battle. With more than 150 students leaving without paying their fees, we’ve had a substantial loss in the last two and a half years.”

“But we’re not giving up,” he adds with renewed vigor. “We’re now focusing more on extracurricular activities and sports. We believe these activities will make the students more interested in school and help their overall development.” Vinay’s school also plans to transition to full English-medium instruction to prevent students from shifting to government schools.

“For the past 18 years, we have maintained a strong commitment to instilling moral education, which has now become our defining motto,” Vinay highlights. “We believe it’s as important as academic learning, and our goal is to provide a balanced education that covers both.”

Relationship with Varthana

“Our partnership with Varthana began in 2018,” shares Vinay, “and it has proven to be an important asset, especially during the hard times of the COVID-19 crisis when many students left without paying their fees.” He continues, “When our attempts at online classes fell short, Varthana’s Unlock worksheets became a lifeline. These worksheets kept students engaged with learning, even without being in a physical classroom.”

Vinay continues on an appreciative note, “During our times of need, Varthana extended their support by providing us with loans which made a tremendous difference for us. Their assistance has been truly invaluable.”

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

Future Plans

Vinay is someone who doesn’t let challenges stop him. He and his team have set a goal to boost enrollment and are working on plans to make that happen.

In addition, Vinay also dreams of having a fully-owned school building, which would offer practical benefits and foster self-reliance. If more students join and their fees come in, the school will have the funds it needs to take care of its infrastructure and staff all on its own.

Vinay stands as a shining example of someone dedicated to making sure unprivileged children receive an affordable, quality education. Even when things are tough, he leads his teachers and other staff to work hard, and makes sure the students get the education they need to do their best in life.

His story reminds all of us how important it is to make sure every child gets a good education, regardless of their socio-economic background. And it’s really important for all of us to support schools like Gyan Jyoti Vidyalaya that are working hard to make this happen.


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