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96 schools and 10 residential schools of Amirgadh striving towards one goal : ‘Educating its children.’

Despite heavy rains, schools in Amirgadh taluka near Palanpur in Banaskantha district had plenty of reasons to celebrate during the 11th consecutive Shala Praveshotsav held across the state on 13th , 14th and 15th June. The reasons for elation were significant, one being the decrease in the drop out ratio in the last 10 years across all schools in the taluka and the other being the steady increase school retention rate.

The result is just a reward of the consistent hard work being done by Gujarat even in remotest tribal villages towards the goal of inclusive development.

With most of the families living in the villages leaning towards forestry, Amirgadh houses a population of 101104people ; in which there are 96 schools and 10 residential schools striving towards one goal : ‘Educating its children.’

The 106 schools in the Taluka teach 24975 children, out of which 13683 are boys and 11102 are girls.

The core area of focus for the school authorities in the Taluka has been to empower the eminent citizens who can inspire other members of the village in increasing education. Making them understand the importance of education through massive community awareness programmes have contributed to the overall increase in school enrolment.

In this process of ‘awakening the members of the tribal community towards education’, evidently teachers have been important drivers in reaching out to the families in the Taluka. First and foremost the emphasis is laid on the teachers to learn the tribal dialect which is considered as the most important aspect in communicating to the children. Second, the methodology of teaching the subjects class wise is paid attention to and training is being given appropriately. Attempts are made to make studying as interactive as possible, such as bringing out books with pictorial representations. These books are given to the children by the State government. Amirgadh taluka has over 600 teachers who work to achieve their set goals.

All teachers are called in specially at least 3-4 days in advance before the summer vacations end, in order for them to visit the houses again and to just inform the families that schools will reopen soon. It is the concept of door-to-door visits by school authorities and government officials who have helped families understand the importance of education that has resulted in Amirgarh achieving its targets in the field of education.

A fascinating concept implemented in all schools in Amirgarh Taluka is the bio metric attendance mechanism. Both teachers and students have to give their attendance online. The initiative has been implemented since 2 years now.

A specific School Management committee is set up which monitors and regulates the overall cleanliness of the schools in the taluka. They also organise meetings with the parents once in a month or so in order to get the feedback from the family as well.

To encourage girl child enrolment, Vidhya Lakshmi Bonds are given to the families of the girls in villages and are directly admitted into Standard 1 in the schools. Villages which have comparatively low female literacy rates are identified and beneficiaries are selected from these villages . The bonds are given only to the children after they have completed Standard 8.

Gujarat has also launched the Prajna initiative which is activity based learning. This has been implemented in 15 schools in Amirgadh taluka. The Block Resource Centres under which 12 Community Resource Centres work have also played a critical role in community mobilization in the taluka towards the goal of shunning illiteracy.

With educationally backward tribal areas achieving the set objectives of Shala Praveshotsav and Kanya Kelavani, Gujarat has achieved in laying a strong foundation for the coming generations to come towards a holistic development of the state. The achievements are also reflective of the fact that school authorities and government officials operate with a sense of social responsibility that every child in the state must be educated.

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