Award-winning Punjab teacher spent Rs 2 Lakh on public schools in the village

A teacher who has made admirable efforts to improve the damaged picture of public schools is Amarjit Singh Chahal from the Mansa district of Punjab.

Amarjit, who won the 2019 National Award on Teacher’s Day, is responsible for improving four schools and rising student enrollments. He has worked actively to maintain community engagement where teachers, local panchayats, and parents have a feeling of responsibility for the schools.

Punjab

“Education is every child’s fundamental right and as a teacher, if I am unable to exercise that then I should not be in the profession. When I started, schools had limited resources and the plight of teaching was in tatters so I began my journey with my own investments. Seeing the progress, the local administration raised school budgets, parents donated money and we got generous donors from abroad. This interest and enthusiasm from various stakeholders is proof that with the right efforts, a change is possible,” says Amarjit.

Amarjit ended up spending Rs 2 lakh in the course of introducing his ‘Smart’ model in public schools. He also uses funds from the government and calls for parents to donate from Rs 5 to Rs 10,000.

Try of change

Punjab

In 2007, Amarjit was incapable to find out why the existence of a whale was difficult to understand for his Ralli school students, who were in Class 5. He took them outside the classroom after a few attempts and drew a whale on the boundary wall of the campus.
When they eventually got some clarification a couple of students asked how the whale would travel through a canal that Amarjit had no answer to.

“It was an eye-opening incident. I changed my teaching methods and taught them in a more interactive manner. I went beyond classroom teaching and found fascinating facts or tales around topics. I also promoted a healthy classroom environment where students were encouraged to ask questions, and if I didn’t know the answer, I would use the internet to find it out for them. Seeing this, some students started doing this at home. They would take their parents’ phone and google educational content,” says Amarjit.

Punjab

During the construction process at the campus, he requested painters to paint math symbols, syllabuses, phrases, adjectives, synonyms of terms on the walls of the building, “I saw kids loitering around in corridors if a teacher would be absent. Now, they would see quirky paintings of a math table on the wall and probably even learn it.” He added.

The school’s attendance had risen from 43 to 120 by the time he moved to another school in 2018. Seeing his school’s success, many district administrators are reaching out to Amarjit and taking advice to better their local schools. As for Amarjit, he also visits other villages and offers his assistance.

Outbreak Approaches

Punjab

To support students without the internet or smartphones deal with lockout classes, Amarjit gave lessons on the telephone to school students. Every day, he announces a schedule of the day on the nearby Gurudwara speaker system. He has also been influential in pressuring village panchayat and teachers to send the poor their old phones.