Nitin and I, coincidently met at Solapur after a long gap. We were classmates in Sainik School, Satara.
Nitin, is now to be addressed as Dr Nitin Waghmode (IRS).
After sharing the past moments from the school, we turned up to our professions. Nitin is with Revenue (at central level) and I am with the Education sector (only the professional seekers).
Suddenly, he questioned me, “Jayant, can you teach the rural students?”.
Never had any experience of standing before the Rurals but the spontaneity reflected answering Yes!
He made me meet the concerned Teachers and so also the locals.
Could make out the initial structure listening to these persons.
Banagarwadi, (the Nitin’s Native), a village from Man Taluka, Dist Satara. 98% of the residents are shepherds, analyzing that the actual village residents are aging either up to 15 years or 60+ years. There is only the few aging between 16–59 years. Rest all are out with their herd hunting for the location to feed them well. The reason is, the village itself is highly drought prone. Nitin with all his villagers as a team had worked hard for the same through Paani Foundation run by Aamir Khan.
The students, carry the learnings from the old Yellow Turbaned heads or teachings from their Teachers. They are unaware about the current scenario in all sector so need the proper learnings.
I was very excited to face these students being an Ajinkyan (student from Sainik School, Satara) and respecting the commitment to Nitin.
August 7th, 2019, the date, we initiated.
Yes!! ….I entered the classroom in the Primary section. Found them with torn & shabby uniforms, sitting on floor with varieties in the poses, punching each other with words and materials, etc. The situation was same for the secondary section respecting their age.
Following their interest and my analysis, I started with my pedagogical methods of teachings, The text books had no role to play. Unknowingly they all started responding to every activity with more curiosity and enthusiasm. On the other side, I knew, I was teaching them the skills that are necessary to face when they actually get exposed to the market.
After my third session at Banagarawadi, I named the project as “KSHITIJA” consulting Nitin. Kshitija is a feminine gendered Marathi word of Kshitij meaning Horizon. The motive was very clear by now that these students must be touching the Horizon of their career irrespective of the sector they will land into.
I, personally travel for 200 kms to & fro from Sangli to Banagarwadi riding my two-wheeler. I am engaged for the three days in a month’s period for every month. I spend the whole daywith the students studying in std 5th to Std 10th. Only the students from std 10th are treated a bit different way orienting more towards the academic section but only with self-designed pedagogical methods for my sessions.
KSHITIJA (phase-1), we can see the behavioral changes, the zeal to learn, curiosity, enthusiasm and moreover had developed the confidence for everything they had/have to face.
The most important is the linguistic changes. These students were to the ground zero for English as language & subject both. Have understood the simplicity and effect of the same. Are able to introduce themselves properly, are ready to question the next and are ready to face the questions. They do carry mistakes but are confident in doing so.
We both, the students & I, Love each other from the core. There is a unique emotional binding been created between us. The students keep waiting for me so is I, try and plan my three sessions for sure for a month with these loved ones.
The project Kshitija will be with its success in near future.
I must really appreciate Nitin for having thought for the same visualizing the future maker in right direction at right stage. We both are working hard. The concerned Teachers are cooperative and are really supporting the Kshitija for its success. The locals, hadn’t been with all but the few who are, does carry good words for Kshitija.
the author is renowned educationist and social activist
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