India begins here: one would not expect to see this painted on the walls of an age-old school situated in a border village of Fazilka, Ferozepur. Chananwala is among the last villages on the Indian side of the International border. When we think of government schools, the image that grows in our minds is that of a school which lacks maintenance and proper governance. This held true for a government primary school in Chananwala which lacked even the basic amenities. In recent times, a teacher took up the responsibility, and has converted this ill-kept school into one which can boast of air conditioners, spruced up, freshly painted walls, a digital-learning infrastructure and even a language laboratory. This is being funded with the help of its headmaster, Lavjeet Singh Grewal and an NGO; Graduates Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF).
Mr. Grewal joined the school as headmaster in 2018. A recipient of the President’s medal, he made his teachers pledge to work towards the improvement of the school. During his joining period, he realized that the school was in a pitiable state and needed a lot of repairs. With the joint efforts of him and the teachers, he was able to collect INR 18 lakh for the school. A new academic session, with refurbished buildings and upgraded infrastructure has begun. The school’s language laboratory will improve speaking and listening skills in English, Hindi, and Punjabi. Mid-day meals are designed on the principles of Punjabi cuisine. The curriculum is gender inclusive and includes yoga and gatka classes, along with hobby classes with soft skill training.
As a result of his hard work and dedication, the school which had 134 students last year, now has crossed 200. People, want to send their children, who are already enrolled in private institutions. The villagers are proud and happy and many from adjoining villages are aspiring to join the school.
It is a matter of pride for the school and the village, that with little resources, the infrastructure was improved and quality education is now being provided. This is not the first school Mr. Grewal has reformed. Before Chananwala, he had refurbished the government school at Dona Nanka village, also near the international border.
Mr. Grewal is a source of inspiration for all of us. It is time to recognize the importance of the prosperity of government schools in India, and the fact that every Indian should be provided basic quality education. Mr. Grewal is doing his small bit for his country and its time for us to do ours.
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