We have taken several initiatives to make learning an enjoyable experience in schools resulting in improved students’ enrollment and daily attendance. We are trying to develop the schools as “Ideal Schools” in every aspect, says Selva Kumari J, District Magistrate, Etawah, Government of Uttar Pradesh, in conversation with Arpit Gupta of Elets News Network (ENN).
In line with the UP Government’s vision of State’s holistic development, what are the initiatives undertaken for easy access of “Education to All”, especially for the deprived and economically weaker section of the society in Etawah?
Uttar Pradesh is committed to provide “Education to All”. Significant efforts have been taken at the State level to achieve this dream. We are also undertaking various initiatives at district level to resolve infrastructure related and various other problems. There are 1,775 schools in Etawah where 1,04,578 students are getting education and among them many students are from deprived and economically weaker sections of society. All students are provided free text books, uniforms, mid-day meals, bags, shoes and socks, and winter wears like sweaters as per the Government schemes. We have taken several initiatives to make learning an enjoyable experience in schools resulting in improved students’ enrollment and daily attendance. We are trying to develop the schools as “Ideal Schools” in every aspect. Some of our initiatives in Etawah are:
- Running water and toilet facilities are now available in every school
- Around 200 schools have been equipped with furniture and colourful wall paintings to attract the child while in the rest of the schools the same is going on with the help of Gram Panchayats
- Teaching Learning Material (TLM), reading learning corner, science laboratory, library and many other resources have been arranged forquality education
- Dining platforms in 475 schools and incinerators in 186 upper primary schools have been constructed and in the remaining schools the process is going on
- 1,450 teachers received training at DIET Etawah under health and hygiene programme to conduct health and hygiene related practices in their schools leading to lesser absence of students due to illness
- Educational Chaupal Programme is also being organised in villages for awareness about education especially girls’ education
- Educational calendar and time-table have been provided to every school to complete the syllabus in time
- A group of teachers has been formed to share innovative ideas through meetings and social media platforms
- Yoga, games and other co-curricular activities are being organised in the schools for the holistic development of the children
- Meena Manch – Workshops to discuss and resolve problems of girls and to make them aware about Government-run programmes for girl education and safety being organised
- KGBV residential schools — 2 KGBV residential schools are also functioning in Etawah district where 200 girls from deprived and economically weaker section of the society are getting free and quality education
- Life skill development programmes like stitching, sweater making etc are also conducted in these schools of Etawah l Three-month Judo-Karate camp — self-defense training is also oraganised in KGBV to empower girls
- “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” scheme has been implemented effectively
- A small book having 300 general knowledge questions is also provided in all schools to improve the general knowledge of students
- Cassettes and DVDs are also provided to schools for the Learning Process
- WhatsApp groups have been made for teachers and education officials for easy communication
- In the current session, free NCERT textbooks will be provided to all students in the district for similarity to CBSE/ICSE schools
- “School Chalo Abhiyan” is conducted very effectively in the presence of Hon’ble MP and MLAs and other representatives to improve the enrollment in all the schools resulting that the enrollment has increased
Technology is having a profound effect on governance and education. In Etawah schools, we are usingtechnology to improve learning experience.
How an increased use of technology has improved the teaching-learning process in Etawah district?What has been the impact of Smart Classes?
Technology is having a profound effect on governance and education. In Etawah schools, we are using technology to improve learning experience. Projectors have been provided to primary and upper primary schools under Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, to familiarise students familiar with smart classes. It enabled students to understand concepts using visuals, media and graphs resulting in increased interest of students in learning. We believe that the use of technology can help in achieving the dream of “Education to All”.
Our teachers have been trained to use learning applications available on smart phones to improve their knowledge. Smart classes and use of technology have increased the attention span of students, helped them connect with huge knowledge base available online.
Biometric machines are being provided to Gram Pradhan (village head) for the attendance of teachers and students so that this positively affects the entire school environment.
What plans does the Government have to bring schools at par with global standards to develop Uttar Pradesh as educational hub of the country?
Priority of the State Government is to improve the infrastructure in the schools. Laying of tiles, electrification, availability of running water and toilet facilities are some of the steps taken by the Government to improve the overall school experience. Facilities for sports and yoga are also being provided. Smart classes are being introduced in phases. Teachers are being encouraged and trained to access latest learning aids on internet to benefit the students. English medium schools have been also started for rural students to help them get red of fear of English.
Uttar Pradesh is committed to provide “Education to All”. Significant efforts have been taken at the State level to achieve this dream. We are also undertaking various initiatives at district level to resolve infrastructure related and various other problems.
What innovations have been introduced to curb malnutrition and how did you ensure affordable and accessible healthcare for all?
Malnutrition is being tackled with a targeted and focused approach. Initially, 124 villages were targetted and 96 villages have been saturated. Under this approach, malnourished children were attended by Nutrition Rehabilitation Centers (NRC). Food with enriched nutritional elements is distributed among students. Poshanvatika (Nutrition Garden) is another innovation in this regard. Under this scheme, high quality vegetable seeds containing seeds of all important seasonal vegetables are provided free of cost to families and priority is given to families with pregnant women and children aged 0-6 years. Families are given technical assistance to grow these vegetables in their backyard. Through this approach, families’ food intake now contains nutritious and fresh green vegetables.
As far as healthcare is concerned, the Government schemes are ensuring affordable and quality healthcare. Diagnostic tests are done for free. Under Ayushman Bharat scheme, camps are being organised in villages for enrollment of eligible people.
As the District Magistrate, what are the citizen-centric initiatives have been taken by you?
Some of my initiatives which have bore fruit and helped common citizens are:
- A campaign called ‘Mere Gaon Mere Miti” has been started by me in villages during which more than 750 ponds were freed from illegal occupation and at least 3 – 4 chakroads were constructed in every village with their soil. This measure has drastically reduced number of IGRS complaints on Government lands. This is in addition to almost 90 per cent clearance of encroachments on department lands like Forest, Irrigation, Electricity Department, PWD etc. Many parts of the villages where ambulance, fire services or police vehicles could not reach, have now become accessible
- Initiative of ‘Poshan Vatika’ (Nutrition Gardens) in each village for improvement of health of pregnant women and children in age group of 0-6
- Implemented ‘Nekiki ki Diwar’ (Wall of kindness), a unique concept where food, clothing etc. for needy and destitute are available for 24 hours \
- Promoted setting up of ‘Rural Haats”/ Smaller upmandi at nyaya panchayat level to help farmers sell their produce like fruits, vegetables, meat and fish l Ensured all schools in Etawah have toilets with running water facility
- Supply of menstrual pads in all villages for all the women of the village, along with an incinerator in every village for disposal of menstrual pads. These measures helped in improvements in enrollment ratio of girls in school and retention of girl children increased
- Blending scheme of distribution of school uniforms with skill training and self-employment of women. About 2,000 women earned between Rs 10,000 – 12,000 due to the initiative in Etawah
- Implementing e-attendance and spreading awareness using CSCs using projectors purchased through Mudra loan from Bank
- Constructed more than 80,000 toilets during my stint in Etawah. The district to achieve ODF shortly for which Government has awarded me
- In recognition of my innovations, I received two SKOCH Platinum Awards also
Please give a brief detail about plans ahead.
Currently, my team is working on solution of “Housing for all” problem by trying out low cost and effective solutions. We are also working on making “Gau Sadan” – a form of old-age home for cows which are deserted by people. We are building a shelter where we will be able to accommodate more than 2,000 cows. This will greatly control stray cattle in city, highway and rural areas. We are also working on creating a village model where all the farmers’ income doubles by adopting modern practices including organic farming, cooperative farming and allied farming activities.