One School Principal’s Mission to Empower Tribal Children of Chhattisgarh Through Holistic Schooling

One School Principal’s Mission to Empower Tribal Children of Chhattisgarh Through Holistic Schooling

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New Ideal Public School, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh

Kanhaiyalal Patel, New Ideal Public School, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh

Background

Raigarh, known for its abundant coal reserves, rich tribal history and power generation stations, was still an underdeveloped district with significant room for improvement. The literacy rate in the area, especially in the year 2000, was declining due to inadequate education facilities. Having noticed the gap in the education system, Kanhaiyalal Patel was determined to bring about positive change.

After completing his graduation in 2000, he took on the role of a Principal in a private educational institute to gain insights into the nuances of the learning process. “During this time, I firsthand saw the scarcity of learning resources and the subpar level of education in my village, Botalda. Seeing so many talented young people in Raigarh not getting the chances they deserved made me want to do something about it,” Kanhaiyalal says, inspired.

In 2006, fueled by a deep desire to shape the future of young students, he founded the New Ideal Public Higher Secondary School in Botalda, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh.

Inspiration

Despite many obstacles, Kanhaiyalal’s unrelenting attitude carried him forward on his mission to provide quality education to underprivileged children. From securing funds and affiliations to gathering resources and appointing teachers, every step was steeped in challenges. Yet, Kanhaiyalal remained steadfast. 

In its inaugural year, the school saw an enrollment of 110 students, spanning from Kindergarten to 5th class. With a school leader determined to fulfill promises, the school’s potential was already clear to see. On top of that, the unveiling of a new school building in 2010 marked a turning point, with enrollment increasing to 400 students, supported by a strong, 20-member team of educators holding BA and B.Ed degrees.

Today, the school proudly showcases modern facilities, including a vast library, fully-equipped computer labs, a reliable bus service, and a spacious sports ground.

Each of these contributes to creating an ideal and conducive learning environment, providing every child with an opportunity to thrive. “It shows how hard our staff members have worked and affirms my belief that all kids should have the chance to get a good education,” Kanhaiyalal shares with confidence.

Also Read: This Leader Left His Well Paying Job To Build A School That Is Changing Lives In Raigarh

Challenges during COVID

The COVID-19 outbreak brought forth new challenges for New Ideal Public School. Kanhaiyalal explains that fee collection became a major issue when 25% of students transferred to government schools, leaving behind unpaid dues. The lockdown exacerbated the problem, with only 10% of students returning to school post-lockdown, he shares. He further adds, “Due to a significant drop in attendance, student enrollment in our school also declined from 600 to just 400.”

In response to this learning loss and the drop in student num

bers, Kanhaiyalal and his team implemented several initiatives to keep the students motivated. “We organized extra classes and remedial sessions to provide immediate attention to struggling students. We conducted parent-student consultations and regular parent-teacher meetings to foster a supportive and collaborative approach to addressing the academic challenges faced by the students,” he asserts.

“As many students came from an agricultural background, we struggled to collect school fees as the parents could pay them only during the harvest season.”

However, Kanhaiyalal’s commitment remained unchanged even in the face of adversity. In a bid to expand educational opportunities and cover a significant area in the Kharsia and Botalda districts of Raigarh, he opened new branches in respective localities. Both schools, affiliated with the Chhattisgarh board, cater to students up to the 5th and 8th grades respectively.  This expansion helped in bringing quality education closer to the community and ensured a brighter future for the younger generation.

Relationship with Varthana

One of the most remarkable things about Kanhaiyalal’s story is his relationship with Varthana. They helped the New Ideal Public School in meeting its financial needs, with their aid coming at a critical time, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Overjoyed with gratitude, Kanhaiyalal expresses, “We consider ourselves fortunate to have received a loan from Varthana, particularly at a time when we needed it the most.”

This partnership with Varthana not only boosted the school’s funds for development but also fueled the school leader’s passion to provide quality education and guidance to students,  even in a difficult situation.

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

Vision

Kanhaiyalal’s New Ideal Public School is staunchly dedicated to academic excellence,  character-building, and holistic education. He further strives to form close bonds with his students to help them do well in school and handle their feelings. He dreams that his school will be well known for creating an intellectually stimulating and challenging learning environment.

In retrospect, Kanhaiyalal’s odyssey in founding a school is a vivid portrayal of determination, passion, and an indomitable spirit, all aimed at creating a better future for the children of Raigarh. Despite the countless challenges he faced, he persisted in his mission to furnish students with quality education. This also led to the opening of two new branches of the school, making education accessible to more students.

Kanhaiyalal has turned his dreams into reality. His story surely inspires many leaders like him to believe in their vision and determination, and shape the future of education for generations to come.

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