A.R. Nishad, Disney Public School, Charama, Chhattisgarh
Modern education system has seen significant advancements in the past two decades, providing children with more opportunities for learning and growth. However, access to basic education is still a challenge in some parts of the world. In this article, we will share the inspiring story of A.R. Nishad and his school, Disney Public School, and how it has revolutionized teaching in Charama Tehsil by promoting quality education in the community.
About the School Leader
Nishad, a passionate and dedicated school leader who has been the acting principal of Disney Public School for the past 13 years. Nishad’s love for teaching began as a hobby while he was living in Tatanagar, Jamshedpur. He discovered his passion for sharing knowledge and empowering young minds and gradually started to enjoy teaching more and more.
Nishad’s journey in education began with small steps. He realized that building a school was a daunting task, but he was determined to make it a reality. In the early 2000s, Nishad and his family moved to the newly formed state of Chhattisgarh in search of more significant opportunities to pursue his dream. He found a teaching job in Dhamtari district, near the capital, Raipur, and joined the faculty of Dolphin International School in 2008.
The following year, the Dolphin International School opened a sub-branch in Charama Tehsil to cater to over 70 villages in a 30 km radius. Nishad was transferred to this sub-branch as an acting principal, where he worked for three years. In 2011, parents in the Charama locality came together to form the Udaan Society, which took over the sub-branch of Dolphin International School and renamed it Disney Public School. The lead contributors to the Udaan Society were Mahesh Bhojwani and Ikram Khan.
For the past 13 years, Nishad has dedicated himself to Disney Public School as its principal, fulfilling his dream of opening and building his school. His commitment to quality education has transformed the lives of many children in the Charama community.
This is a story of the transformative power of education and the impact that one person can create in their community. With Nishad’s commitment and leadership, Disney Public School has become a symbol of optimism for families who are searching for excellent educational opportunities in Charama Tehsil.
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Every journey has its share of ups and downs, and in Nishad’s case, the road to success was not easy. In the beginning, Dolphin International School had a high fee structure, which made it difficult for most parents in Charama to afford quality education for their children. Even after changing its name to Disney Public School, many parents remained skeptical and continued to assume that the school’s fee structure would remain the same.
“To win the trust of parents and attract students to the school, the teachers, parents and all of us associated with Udaan Society had to work tirelessly. We adopted various strategies like word-of-mouth marketing, door-to-door meetings, and providing exclusive low-fee structures and facilities to create awareness about the school’s offerings. It still took time to establish a positive image in the community, which was only possible due to the dedicated teaching staff,” Nishad proudly mentions.
One of the primary concerns was that the school operated from a rented location that lacked sufficient space to accommodate all its students. This led to extra costs associated with renting the site, which affected the school’s revenue. “We realized the need to invest in a new school building to solve the space issue and reduce rental costs. However, obtaining loans from banks for a school was a significant challenge that hindered the construction of a new building,” he claims.
Fortunately, the management team learned about Varthana through a mutual friend, and they were willing to provide a loan to the school. This was a much-needed boost for the school’s progress and a turning point in its journey towards success.
School and the Pandemic
The state government in Chhattisgarh and many other states in India during the pandemic issued notices directing all schools not to ask for school fee repayment. “While this was a boon for students and parents, it was a bane for private and unaided schools across the country,” says the school leader.
“Despite the challenges, the teachers at Disney Public School rose to the occasion, working tirelessly to provide online classes and monitor students regularly. However, some children did not have access to smartphones and the internet, so the school staff had to rely on mohalla classes and WhatsApp homework to reach them,” he further adds.
The pandemic also caused a significant setback for the school, with around 40% of its students shifting to government schools without transferring their records. As a result, their old school fees still needed to be updated. Additionally, the state government expected the school to enroll more students under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, but they also needed to fulfill their commitment to providing RTE funds for these students.
Relationship with Varthana
When Nishad talks about Varthana, you can feel the gratitude and warmth in his voice. For him, Varthana is not just a financial partner, but a trusted friend who came to his aid when he needed it the most. He recalls how he had given up hope of getting a loan from commercial banks and how Varthana’s support was like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day.
Nishad describes, “The loan application process was seamless and hassle-free. We were able to complete all formalities and documentation without any hitch. Varthana’s commitment to providing timely financial assistance allowed us to complete the school building project without delay.”
Also Read: This Leader Left His Well Paying Job To Build A School That Is Changing Lives In Raigarh
But Varthana’s support did not end with financial assistance. During the lockdown, their academic solution team conducted online assessments to help the school evaluate students’ learning levels. They also introduced new products and services that could offer better support to the school. For Nishad, this was a clear indication of Varthana’s steady commitment to their partnership.
The new school building has created a more conducive learning environment, which has resulted in an increase in the number of students. In 2022, the school registered 424 students, with a 15% to 20% increase in student strength due to the new school building with more spacious classrooms and good ambiance. This is a testament to the school’s commitment to providing quality education and the positive impact that Varthana’s support has had on their journey towards success.
Looking towards the future, Nishad is optimistic that the school will continue to grow. With Varthana’s support, he expects a 20% increase in student strength in the coming years.
Disney Public School has now moved into its newly built, rent-free facility. With this move, the school plans to apply for CBSE affiliation, which could bring significant changes to both the school and the Charama community. After Dolphin International School, Disney Public School will be the second CBSE-affiliated school in Charama.
Despite facing challenges such as dropouts, student migration, and fee collection, the school management remains confident in its ability to achieve greater heights with its students. The teachers and staff have shown remarkable dedication and resourcefulness, and the students have displayed resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Together, they have weathered the storm and emerged stronger, prepared to confront whatever challenges the future may bring.