Exemplary municipal school leader: Sushma Pathare

EducationWorld August 2022 | EducationWorld People
-Paromita Sengupta (Bengaluru)

Exemplary municipal school leader: Sushma Pathare

Pune-based Sushma Pathare is principal of the free-of-charge Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation English Medium School, Bopkhel (PCMC-EMS, estb. 2016) — one of 26 primary-secondary schools managed by the Mumbai-based Akanksha Foundation in private-public partnership with local governments. Affiliated with the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, PCMC-EMS provides English-medium education to 315 K-VI students mentored by 13 teachers. The school campus also hosts a K-10 Marathi-medium school with an enrolment of 700 students.

Newspeg. PCMC-EMS, Bopkhel is one of five Indian schools shortlisted for the inaugural US$250,000 (Rs.1.9 crore) World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration in five categories. This global award is an initiative of the London-based T4 Education, a voluntary organisation, and the Nassau (Bahamas)-based Templeton World Charity Foundation, Accenture and American Express. The Top 3 finalists for five World’s Best School Prize in the categories of Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives will be announced later this year, and prize winners this October.

History. An education postgraduate of Pune’s Savitribai Phule University, Pathare began her career in 2005 as a teacher with Akanksha Foundation acquiring over a decade’s valuable admin and teaching experience in several schools managed by the foundation. She was appointed principal of PCMC-EMS in 2018.

Direct talk. “We believe in teaching children in partnership with parents. Therefore, since inception, we have routinely organised monthly meetings, open forums, parenting and skill building workshops including financial literacy and government schemes awareness programmes for our parents community. When Covid-19 swept India in March 2020 and the school was locked down for 101 weeks, we provided ration kits to our parents who suffered job and livelihood losses, and leveraged the relationship building skills of members of our School Management Committee and parent volunteers to connect with students and parents on a daily basis. Moreover during the pandemic lockdown, we established a learning centre for the community, distributed learning material for children and initiated online intervention classes for small groups to bridge learning gaps. In 2021, students of classes III-V were provided Lenovo digital tablets and access to the internet. As a result, our children and teachers have emerged from the pandemic with minimal learning gaps,” says Pathare.
Future plans. Encouraged by the rising number of admission applications far exceeding seats available, Pathare is hopeful that the corporation will invest in additional infrastructure to increase capacity. “We are experiencing severe shortage of space. We need a larger budget to enable our children to access modern facilities such as science and computer labs, playgrounds, etc. We want to make PCMC-EMS a model primary school which builds a strong foundation for secondary and higher secondary education,” says Pathare.

God speed.

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