How a Career Counselor Honored His Late Wife’s Dream by Constructing a School in Chhattisgarh Gajendra Tiwari, Chhattisgarh Public School, Korba, Chhattisgarh

How a Career Counselor Honored His Late Wife’s Dream by Constructing a School in Chhattisgarh
Gajendra Tiwari, Chhattisgarh Public School, Korba, Chhattisgarh

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Gajendra Tiwari, Chhattisgarh Public School, Korba, Chhattisgarh
Varthana - Wife’s Dream by Constructing a School in Chhattisgarh

Background

From a young age, Gajendra Tiwari displayed an intense passion for knowledge and an insatiable curiosity, which set him apart from his peers. He committed himself fully to his studies, achieving remarkable success with a Ph.D., an MSc, and a diploma in career counseling. His early career saw him serving as a Supervisor at a Medical College from 2002 to 2010, during which he gained invaluable insights into student psychology and the challenges they face in educational settings.

Yet, as he continued to work, he realized that his greatest joy didn’t come from personal success, but from positively impacting the lives of others. His late wife, Kalpana Tiwari, wanted to help children in Chhattisgarh have a better future. Inspired by her dream, Gajendra bravely decided to start a school in Pali, a town nestled in a tribal belt.

“This school is a tribute to my wife’s dream project and a purpose for me to continue her service,” expresses the devoted school leader. 

Now serving as the Director, Principal, and Career Counsellor, Gajendra passionately nurtures the holistic growth and emotional well-being of every child under his care.

Construction of a new school

When the school first started, they used a rented space. But within a year, Gajendra began to build a new school with help from his parents and friends. “The journey was complicated,” he recollects, “as the State Educational Department conducted rigorous inspections to ensure our compliance with essential school requirements.”

To meet these criteria, Gajendra had to do a lot of work. He had to improve the classrooms, get new furniture, study materials, laboratories, and restrooms. Given Pali’s location in a less developed society and many parents working as farmers, it was hard to get them to send their children to the school.

Yet, his face lights up with pride as he shares, “We started with just 70 students, but thanks to the tireless efforts of our school management, our enrollment expanded to 600 by 2019.”

 

Setting up a children-centric school

This school in Pali has earned a commendable reputation for offering quality education to rural children. The school leader’s focus on holistic education sets it apart, as it goes beyond academics. ”Our school curriculum is crafted to meet the needs of each student, ensuring a well-rounded education that fosters both academic excellence and character development,” says Gajendra.

This school’s outstanding education is made possible by the constant commitment of its experienced and professional teachers. They incorporate modern technology to make classes engaging and effective. “Our school provides a learning environment where students are encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussions, which will eventually boost their critical thinking skills,” Gajendra assures with a smile.

In addition to upholding academic excellence, the school leader has also integrated new facilities for sports, music, dance, and art. Gajendra feels that “for a child’s overall development, extracurricular activities are essential” and that’s why they encourage students to participate in order to explore their talents and develop new skills.

“We also have a counseling department dedicated to offering guidance and support to students. Given my background in counseling, I’ve ensured that the department is staffed by professionals skilled to help students with personal or academic challenges they may experience.”

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

Relationship with Varthana

Between 2017 and 2019, Chattisgarh Public School took significant steps to improve its infrastructure, like building a wall around the school and other smaller projects. However, being situated far from the commercial hub of Chhattisgarh and major cities, the school faced financial challenges, and finding suitable lenders seemed like an uphill battle.

Fortunately, in 2019, Gajendra came across Varthana and decided to take out a loan. Empowered by financial aid, Gajendra was able to make important changes to the school, like adding digital classrooms, CCTV systems, and installing computers. These measures made the school safer and helped parents feel better about sending their children there. He further confirms “Consequently, more students started coming to our school. We had less than 450 students before 2017, but after 2018, we had over 600. This was all thanks to the help from Varthana.”

Gajendra seems very happy talking about how the loan has helped him build trust among his parents. He states, “Varthana has been a reliable partner in our journey towards progress. The financial aid allowed us to improve our infrastructure, making the learning environment more conducive for our students. It’s heartening to witness the growth in enrollment and the trust parents place in our school.”

The collaboration with Varthana has proven to be a game-changer for Chattisgarh Public School, reinforcing their dedication to providing quality education and securing a brighter future for their students.

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

Challenges during COVID

During the lockdown, half of the students left due to migration or financial struggles. The government allowed children to switch schools without a transfer certificate, and this made it hard for Gajendra’s school because many students left without paying their dues. Gajendra recalls the scenario, saying, “While this decision was beneficial for the students, it presented challenges for us. Many students left without paying the full year’s fees, causing a huge financial strain on us.”

Despite the financial challenges and the order to forego fee payments, Gajendra managed to navigate through the situation. “We started online classes for our students so they could keep learning. For those who didn’t have smartphones, we set up community classes. This way, every child could keep learning.”

He also implemented bridge education programs to help students catch up on what they missed. In 2021, Ashok Agrawal, the Honourable Secretary of the Education Department, recognized and appreciated Gajendra for his exceptional dedication and contributions to education during these challenging times.

Vision

Gajendra understands the importance of helping students explore their interests and unlock their true potential. That’s why he makes sure the school helps students plan their careers and teaches them the essential skills they need to do well in the future.

His efforts are ongoing. Gajendra is dedicated to creating an environment where children can thrive intellectually, emotionally, and socially. He concludes optimistically, “Together, we are empowering our students to face future challenges with confidence and determination.”

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