Gujarat: Education goes rural in the state

May 6, 2015

According to an official release on May 1, students of 51 grant-in-aid and private schools in the state will soon have the opportunity to interact with their counterparts from government schools in rural areas and learn from each other. The project, christened as Gyansetu, aims at bridging the gap between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds. Under the initiative, private schools like Anand Niketan, DPS, Prakash Higher Secondary School, CN Vidyalaya, Udgam School, Diwan Ballubhai and others will exchange their students with rural government schools for 10 out of the 200-odd educational days every year.
This will provide the opportunity to students to learn the best of both the schools. “Mainly, students from relatively well-to-do families go to private and grant-in-aid schools that use smarter educational technology which rural schools don’t have. So, through this programme, students from the latter will go to these schools and learn from fellow students and their teachers,” said district development officer Bhargavi Dave who is the brain behind the initiative.

“Moreover, students can learn benefits of co-operation and co-curriculum activities from rural government schools.This social inclusion will help to lessen the divide between educational qualities. It will develop friendship and bonding among the students,” she said.

On May 6, chief minister Anandiben Patel will inaugurate the programme in which grant-in-aid and private schools will sign MoUs with their counterparts in the government sector for three years. So far, the number of students from each school has not been decided but according to officials, thousands of students from both sets of schools will benefit from it. “Along with that, considering the response we get, we want to introduce a plan where students from both groups of schools can sleep over at each other’s house for a day or two.

This will further help in bridging the gap between the students,” said Dave. People associated with education of underprivileged children have welcomed the initiative.

Comments Ashish Ranjan, founder of RTE Resource Centre, “It is good to see the education department take steps to bring the students of government and private schools together. It is too early to comment on the success or failure of this initiative but it would be very interesting to see the friend ship these kids develop and the things they learn from each other.”

Ranjan, however, added, “This initiative should not overshadow implementation of Right to Education.” During their visits, teachers will take the responsibility of teaching and engaging visiting students. Also, students will share the same room and electronic gadgets with others. So far it has been decided that the visits will be arranged on Saturdays during schools hours. There are plans for students to make them celebrate their birthdays with other students.

“Birthdays are always a special occasion for children, we want them to celebrate with other schools students also which will help in breaking ice,” said an officer from district panchayat office. In the MoU, it is also mentioned that students will write letters to other schools twice a month stating their experiences. Also, students will share their contact numbers and address witheach other. “Exchanging numbers will help them keep in touch even after the visiting hours,” she added.

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