The Classrooms with Painted Walls
Students in Salamba Government Middle School are able to learn from their textbooks, their teachers, and, believe it or not, the walls of their classrooms. The walls of their classroom are decorated not just with artwork by students, but also with informational paintings done by professionals. We visited the school to have a look at the paintings and to speak to their head-mistress, Ms Usha Saini to found out what prompted her to do it.
Why the Painted Walls?
Ms Usha Saini said that she had the paintings made for a few reasons. The colourful paintings beautified the classroom and made it more vibrant – a place where students feel motivated to learn. More importantly, they serve as learning aids for the students. The paintings of the wall depicted important concepts such as the human anatomy, the geography of India and the water cycle.
According to Ms Usha Saini, these concepts, such as the parts of the human body or the states of India, can be difficult for the students to remember. Having them displayed on the walls makes learning easier as the students are able to refer to the paintings at all times. They internalize the concepts are able to recite them by heart.
The paintings in the classroom are not all educational – some of them are of a motivational nature. Ms Usha Saini had the “Rights to Education” painted on walls to serve as a constant encouragement to her students of the importance of learning. She also has poems and paintings which promote gender equality, empowerment of girls and religious harmony. With these paintings, she hopes to impart good values to her students.
An Intelligent Use of Budget
Ms Usha Saini told us that the paintings were paid for through a smart reallocation of the school’s budget. Every year, a certain sum of money is set aside for the beautification of the school. This usually means painting the walls or planting greenery. Salamba is the only school to have used this budget to have educational materials painted. The innovative head-mistress hired professional artist in order to have paintings which are beautiful, in addition to being informative. By doing this, Ms Usha Saini is able to get the most out of the school’s limited budget to maximize the learning experience of her students.
Hopes for the Future
The painting of the classroom walls is merely the first step in Ms Usha Saini’s efforts to improve the school. She wants to upgrade other parts of the school, as well as increase the school’s overall attendance. Her biggest wish is to provide education for girls beyond 8th grade. Presently, the school does not cater to girls going on to 9th and 10th grade. As a result, most of them drop out after completing 8th grade, without moving on to further education. By providing education to 9th and 10th grade girls, she believes that they will have more opportunities in the future.
With Ms Usha Saini’s passion and innovative thinking, we’re sure that she’ll find a way to achieve her goals.
All over Mewat, head-masters are putting into place innovative practices which are improving the education of the students in their school. Over the month of December, three interns from the SRF Foundation visited 7 of these schools to document the practices and to interview the head-masters.
With these reports, they seek to give recognition to these schools, and to share with the world little bits of progress that are being made, even in the most rural of places.