Sonu Singh Chauhan, KT Public School, Meerut
Sonu Singh Chauhan, a determined and resilient school leader, has triumphed over numerous obstacles in his quest to deliver top-notch education to his students. Despite facing the harsh reality of poverty, he never allowed it to extinguish his passion for teaching. This burning desire within him propelled him to establish KT Public School, an affordable school that has achieved an outstanding 98% success rate among its students. Moreover, when faced with the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, his school swiftly adapted and implemented offline learning methods, ensuring that his students’ educational journey would not be derailed. This proactive approach not only allowed the school to navigate the pandemic distress but also resulted in a surge in enrollment, as parents recognized the school’s dedication to their children’s education and well-being.
Background and inspiration
Born into a low-income family, Chauhan, the son of a farmer, encountered limited support from relatives. However, he refused to let these circumstances define his destiny. His childhood experiences as a part-time teacher at a school run by his relatives kindled a deep desire within him to create a school of his own. In 2009, he embarked on this arduous journey and founded Saraswati Shishu Mandir in the Saharanpur district
Officially opening the school’s doors in 2016, Chauhan kicked off the first session in 2019, utilizing the land owned by his father. “My vision for the school was clear from the outset—to provide quality education that transcended mere profit-making motives,” Chauhan says, determinedly. “I wanted to turn my vision into reality so I cycled 10-kilometer on a daily to reach the school, all while juggling my own studies,” he expresses.
Not content with simply teaching, Chauhan pursued and completed a double master’s degree, showcasing his persistent dedication to both his personal growth and the educational development of his students.
Today, KT Public School stands tall as one of the best affordable private schools in Meerut, a testament to Sonu’s relentless commitment to education. With a student population exceeding 480, the school caters to the underprivileged, offering a nurturing environment where children can learn, grow, and pursue their dreams.
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Empowering through engagement
As a visionary school leader, Chauhan deeply understands the profound impact of keeping students and teachers engaged and motivated in the learning process. With this understanding at the forefront, he and the school administration regularly implement a diverse range of activities, fostering an environment that breaks the monotony of regular classes and ignites a vibrant sense of enthusiasm and inspiration.
“One such powerful initiative is the trophy distribution ceremony held during the new year celebration. During this special event, each student is presented with a personally engraved trophy adorned with a heartfelt message and an image. This thoughtful gesture serves as a catalyst, empowering students to strive harder and unlock their true potential. Witnessing their accomplishments celebrated in such a tangible and personalized manner ignites a fire within them, propelling them to reach new heights of achievement,” Chauhan shares, excitedly.
Additionally, the school organizes an array of captivating outdoor activities, science exhibitions, annual functions, game competitions and thought-provoking poster-making contests. These activities are meticulously designed for every grade, fostering teamwork, creativity, and a sense of healthy competition.
By actively engaging both students and teachers in these stimulating events, the school creates an immersive and dynamic learning environment, where everyone is encouraged to participate, express their talents, and embrace a spirit of active involvement.
Prioritizing students’ needs and focusing on individuals
“At our school, the needs of our students always take center stage. We believe in providing individual attention to every child, recognizing their unique strengths and areas that require improvement,” the school leader says, adding that “understanding the backgrounds and resources available to each student and allowing the teachers to offer tailored support that unlocks their full potential” are his top priorities.
“Recognizing that many parents in affordable private schools may be illiterate and unable to provide support at home, we go the extra mile to bridge this gap. Our school is committed to addressing this issue by providing necessary assistance to parents, ensuring they can actively engage in their child’s education. We firmly believe that education is a collective effort, involving both the school and parents working hand in hand,” Chauhan explains.
Furthermore, Chauhan holds a deep commitment to promoting girls’ education. For the past seven years, they have actively educated parents from marginalized communities, such as the Muslim and Gujjar communities, about the importance of girls’ enrollment. These efforts have yielded remarkable results, leading to a significant increase in girls’ enrollment in the school.
The school is deeply committed to fostering a student-centered learning environment also, where each student receives the attention and support they need to thrive. They adopt a proactive approach by dividing the class into multiple groups based on individual performance levels. This strategy ensures that students engage in class activities and competitions with peers who share the same learning level, creating a supportive and motivational atmosphere. “We consistently ensure that no student feels demotivated or left behind. Every student is given individual attention and the opportunity to advance to a higher group based on their performance. This personalized approach has contributed significantly to our remarkable success rate of 98% among our students, aligning our achievements with their age and educational milestones,” Chauhan admitted confidently.
Implementing an Integrated System for tracking Student Performance and Progress
This futuristic school has already implemented a robust monitoring structure to closely track and assess student performance on a monthly basis. “This comprehensive system ensures that we stay informed about our students’ academic progress.”
Teachers conduct regular oral tests and meticulously review their notebooks to gain valuable insights into their strengths and areas that require additional attention. Also, maintaining a strong line of communication with parents is an essential aspect where they actively engage parents through monthly Parent-Teacher Meetings (PTMs) and establish class WhatsApp groups to facilitate regular updates and discussions. By fostering open and frequent communication channels, the school ensures that parents are well-informed about their child’s progress and can actively participate in their educational journey. Further, they proactively reach out to parents through frequent calls to keep them updated on their child’s progress, particularly in the case of absences.
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Adapting to challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic presented unique challenges for the school as many students hail from marginalized communities with limited access to mobile phones and internet connectivity. Traditional online learning methods proved impractical in the school’s context and locality.
In response, Chauhan made a crucial decision to implement an offline learning method. By hiring two teachers for each village, he initiated small group classes that strictly adhered to all necessary COVID-19 protocols. This innovative approach successfully reached a larger number of students within the surrounding communities, expanding KT Public School’s enrollment from six villages to nine.
Recognizing the financial burdens faced by the students’ families during these challenging times, Chauhan took the compassionate step of waiving all school fees.
Upon the resumption of in-person classes, Chauhan organized remedial courses to provide targeted support and address any learning gaps that may have emerged during the pandemic. “It was crucial for us to adapt and devise new ways of reaching and teaching our students. We take great pride in our ability to continue providing exceptional education, even in the face of adversities presented by the pandemic,” he adds.
Varthana and the school
“With the help of Varthana, we were able to expand our school by constructing new classrooms and establishing three smart classrooms for our students through their loans. This remarkable development has greatly enhanced the learning environment at our school. I had 260 students before COVID-19, and now I have 487 students,” proudly declares the school leader. “This substantial increase in student enrollment is proof of the positive impact of our efforts and the growing recognition of the quality education we provide.”
Building a brighter future
“I wish to continue my commitment towards providing quality education and instilling critical social values in my students. My ultimate goal is to ensure that when they leave the school, they are equipped with a comprehensive education that encompasses both academic knowledge and essential life skills and values. I believe that these efforts will not only benefit the students individually but also contribute to the creation of a more equitable society,” Chauhan, with palpable excitement, emphasizes the positive impact of educating children for a better world.
In the pursuit of educational excellence, Chauhan’s commitment to empowering through engagement sets a shining example. By infusing enthusiasm, celebration, and creativity into the educational journey, Chauhan and the school community nurture a generation of confident, motivated, and passionate individuals ready to take on the challenges of the world with fervor and resilience.