No Child Left Behind When It Comes To Education In This Taluka School In Chhattisgarh

No Child Left Behind When It Comes To Education In This Taluka School In Chhattisgarh

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George Rawate, Good Shepherd School and Udaan Good Shepherd Society, Mahasamund, Chhattisgarh

Education is vital for society’s progress and well-being as it helps us explore the world from atoms to galaxies. However, many people lack access to quality education, especially in rural and unprivileged areas. Quality education depends on access to quality teachers and staff, as well as communication skills in languages such as English. And most private schools in India lack the facilities.

This is where George Rawate’s journey started, with an aim to eradicate disparity and work towards enabling access to quality education in a small taluka in Chhattisgarh.

George Rawate

Journey of George Rawate

George Rawate has a passion for education and a vision for his community. He was a retired civil engineer and the Director of Good Shepherd School and Udaan Good Shepherd Society in Mahasamund, Chhattisgarh. He wanted to provide quality education to the children of his locality, especially the underprivileged and marginalized ones.

He moved to Mahasamund tehsil in 1985 with his family, when he was still working as a civil engineer. He was looking for a good English medium school for his daughter, who was his pride and joy. He was fortunate to find a convent school and enrolled his daughter there. However, he soon realized that the school was not meeting his expectations. He was disappointed and worried about his daughter’s future.

He observed that infrastructure and resources were scarce in the area. He also noticed that there were not enough qualified and experienced teachers to ensure the quality of education. He remembered his own struggle to complete his education, and how he had overcome many challenges and obstacles. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and to create a quality education ecosystem in Mahasamund that would benefit the entire community.

He joined hands with his wife, Anita G Rawate, who was a training manager for elder girls in non-formal education. She shared his passion and vision, and supported him in his mission. Together, they established Good Shepherd Higher Secondary English Medium School in 1996, in the urban (earlier rural) area of Mahasamund district.

They started with a small building and a few students, but they had a big dream and a lot of determination.

Initial hiccups

Initially, the couple started from a small building in 1989 with only 17 kids and a few teachers. They named it Good Shepherd School and hoped to make a difference in the lives of their students.

But the journey was not easy. George faced many challenges and obstacles along the way. He had to register the school with the authorities, which was a tedious and expensive process. They had to build more classrooms to accommodate the growing number of students and had to hire more teachers and staff to ensure the quality of education. They had to deal with the skepticism and criticism of some people who did not believe in their vision.

George never gave up. He persevered and overcame every difficulty with the help of his wife, their united faith, their passion and their supporters.

They also established an NGO called Udaan Good Shepherd Society and engaged in various social activities to help the community. 

They expanded their school to higher secondary classes and adopted the Chhattisgarh State Board English Medium curriculum. They equipped their school with modern facilities such as a playground, library, computer lab, etc. They nurtured and guided their students to achieve academic excellence and personal growth.

By 2022, Good Shepherd School had become the second top school in Mahasamund district, with 17 batches of students passing the 12th standard and several state-level achievements. Rawates were proud of their school and their students. They had fulfilled their dream and made a lasting impact on society.

Also Read: How Zeal School is improving English proficiency in rural students

Challenges

George knew that running a school was not a simple task. He had to deal with a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. He had to travel 50 km to Raipur, the district headquarters, to get the necessary approvals and permissions. He had to face the delays and the corruption that plagued the system.

He also had to find qualified and dedicated teachers who could teach in English and were willing to work in a rural area. He had to search far and wide, and sometimes he had to settle for less than ideal candidates. Other challenges he faced included providing quality books and stationery for his students, which were not easily available in the local market; arranging transportation for his students and staff, which was often unreliable and unsafe; and building and maintaining the infrastructure and facilities of his school, which required a lot of money and effort.

Despite all these challenges, George and his family worked hard and sacrificed a lot to sustain their school and their goals.

During and after COVID-19

The pandemic was a nightmare for every school and Good Shepherd institution was no exception. The school had to face several challenges, such as learning loss, lack of technical awareness, and dropouts among its students. The school had to shift to online learning, which was a new and unfamiliar mode of teaching and learning for both the teachers and the students.

The school leaders and management provided the necessary training to the teaching staff to help them adapt to the online learning environment.

They also ensured that most students attend online classes through WhatsApp groups and calling. They understood the difficulties and anxieties of the students and their parents during this unprecedented crisis.

The school also witnessed learning loss and student behavioural changes after Covid-19. George was concerned about the academic performance and emotional well-being of the students. He also considered the problems related to fee payment due to loss of employment among some parents. He did not want to deprive any student of education because of financial constraints. So, he decided to set up extra classes for the students and reached out to the parents to send their kids irrespective of due in fee payments. He wanted to help the students recover from the learning loss and regain their confidence and interest.

Relationship with Varthana

George was grateful to Varthana for their financial and academic support during the tough time. “I was fortunate that one of the parents’ kids was studying in our school and he had told us about the Varthana at the time of our need,” George said.

He had applied for a loan from Varthana five years ago, when he wanted to develop the school infrastructure and create a better environment for his students. He knew that these facilities would attract more parents and students to his school and improve the quality of education.

He was right. With the help of the loan from Varthana, he was able to build new classrooms, a library, a playground, and a computer lab. He was amazed by the impact of these changes on his school. He saw a 25% growth in admissions after the development of infrastructure and a computer lab.

George claims ”We have seen the growth of students from 700 to 900 after connecting with Varthana”. He also saw an improvement in the academic performance and the digital skills of his students.

He was also impressed by the other support that Varthana provided to his school. During the lockdown, when the school had to shift to online learning, Varthana supported the school with unlock worksheets and online materials custom-made by Varthana’s academic solution team. These worksheets helped students practice language and mathematics without involving any cost. The school management distributed these worksheets to all the students to mitigate the learning loss caused by the pandemic.

George feels that Varthana is not just a lender, but a partner in his school’s journey. He appreciates Varthana’s vision and commitment and looks forward to continuing his relationship with Varthana and achieving his goals.

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