The New English School located in Raigad District in Maharashtra, was amongst the many government-aided schools struggling to keep pace with the modern education system in India. Suffering from low attendance, disinterested students, lack of a library and basic sanitation facilities, the school had very little going for it. Books in a library are meant to be read. But here, they were mostly locked up in the cupboard, denying students the vital exposure that is necessary for all-round development and holistic education.
The story changed when CAF India selected Swades Foundation to improve the conditions in the school under the Support My School (SMS) Season II programme, supported by our donor partners, Coca Cola and NDTV.
“Mr.A.D.Jadhav, who is the principal of the school, has seen the changes that SMS programme has brought about and how it has benefited the students. “Previously the school had no drinking water, nor a storage tank. Literally, they had to carry pots of water to the school at the start of the day and store it there.”
“We also had no computer facility in our school and were unable to impart practical knowledge on computing to our students. However, through the intervention of Swades Foundation and Support My School programme, we received computers and are now able to seamlessly provide computer education to our students.”
Due to the SMS programme not only has the look of the school changed but there also been a distinct improvement in the participation of the School Management Committee (SMC) in the way the school is run. In one particular instance, the school needed to repair the roof because it had become rather precarious. “We took up this issue in the SMC meeting and after observing the results of the SMS programme and the way students were turning up at school to attend classes regularly, our community took the decision to contribute to repairing the roof. Some of the community members contributed financially while others contributed by donating their time,” said Mr Jadhav.
There has been a huge change in the reading habits of children too. Earlier, the culture of reading was curbed because the library books were stored under lock and key. Moreover, there was a lack of awareness about the benefits of reading.
But not any more. Now, the children love the concept of the ‘open library’ where students themselves take charge of the library, maintaining records and managing operations on their own through the Library Management Committee (LMC). This in turn has helped enhance their administrative, oral and written communication skills, in addition to an increased interest in reading. The teachers at the school have seen a marked improvement in their students and feel it is primarily because of the library that the children are now able to express themselves better.
*CAF India supports Swades Foundation in the Support My School (SMS) programme, aided by its partners Coca Cola and NDTV.