It was certainly a festive occasion on 3 July 2013, with a celebratory event that combined 3 ceremonies – the Reinventing Education (RE) closing ceremony, the Jashn-e-Taleem Summer Camp awards ceremony, and a scholarship distribution ceremony. Held at E-Disha Hall in Nuh, Mewat, the event was graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr. Rajeev Arora, District Education Officer, Mewat and Mr. Dipak Singh, RE Resource Person.
20 female students in the 9th standard were awarded scholarships in recognition of their outstanding academic performance and to encourage them in their continued pursuit of scholastic excellence. Together with their parents, they were invited on-stage to receive the scholarships from Mr. Mohd. Anwar, advisor to SRF Foundation.
The event also saw the closing ceremony for the first phase of the Reinventing Education (RE) programme, a teacher training programme equipping government school teachers with better skills to facilitate enhanced in-class learning so that children will be more encouraged to attend school. It has conducted 40 workshops with 5 exposure visits and 5 IT-skills training sessions thus far. In the first phase, held from July 2011 to May 2012, 62 teachers were trained. Out of these, 38 exceptional candidates have emerged as champion teachers and shadow teachers, who will continue transferring the skills they have learnt to other teachers in the second phase of the programme. A targeted total of 228 teachers will have been trained by the end of the second phase.Certificates were awarded to the participants by Mr. Rajeev Arora, and a photo story summarising the events of the first phase was screened to thank the participants and encourage them to continue revolutionising education. In a speech, Mewat Rural Education Programme Coordinator Ms. Neeti Tyagi noted that school dropout rates have decreased after the programme was launched. She added that many teachers are also visibly applying the skills they have learnt, using social media tools like Facebook to collaborate and share their knowledge. Mr. Mohd. Anwar also spoke, expressing his hope that the programme will continue in 2013 and 2014.
Several participants also shared about their RE experience. Thanking SRF Foundation for the opportunity, Mr. Vinod Kumar of Rehna village spoke of how concepts from the RE training he applied to his teaching have successfully wrought change, expressing his amazement at how a mere change in classroom sitting arrangement radically affected the students’ attention and participation in class. He added that encouraging teachers to learn ICT skills has promoted the sharing of knowledge; now teachers are able to interact and share whatever they have with each other. A poetry lover, Mr. Kumar has composed five poems dedicated to the RE programme, and recited one for an appreciative audience.
Mdm. Kanchan Arora, who teaches in Kanwarsika Government Middle School, expressed that the RE training experience would always be a memorable learning journey for her, and shared that implementing group learning has taught her students cooperation, tolerance, and leadership. She emphasised the importance of life-long learning, saying, “Don’t ever see your age as a limitation. RE training gave me a lot of opportunities. Usually, contract teachers are not sent for training and this is where SRF Foundation came in to fulfill the need… Your body may be getting old but that should not affect your interest and passion for learning.” Sharing that she has seen a lot of change in herself after the RE training, Mdm. Arora highlighted how changing oneself is the first step to changing others, quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see” and Lao Tzu’s “The journey of a thousand miles starts from a single step”.
Ms. Nazreen Khan from Kherla village enthusiastically told the audience that the RE programme has given her dreams wings, adding, “RE Programme is great!” Ms. Usha from Salamba village also expressed her gratitude for being given the opportunity to participate in RE, sharing, “This course has taught me new techniques and motivated my kids a lot. RE has reshaped the boring teaching methods into a more exciting manner.”
Jashn-e-Taleem Summer Camp also closed on a high note. Comprising the IBM KidSmart Camp, Girls Camp and Youth Camp, Jashn-E-Taleem hopes to encourage out-of-school children to develop an interest in attending school, and create an opportunity for youth to attend vocational programmes. A photo story succinctly capturing the activities and events over the 30-day run was screened for the audience, while certificates of appreciation were bestowed on all Vidya Volunteers in gratitude of their efforts in facilitating the camps at the ground-level. In addition, Excellence Awards were conferred in recognition of camps which had displayed outstanding performances. Rehna village clinched four awards – Overall Best KidSmart Summer Camp, Best Community Participation, Best Vidya Volunteer Participation, and Centre Catering to Highest Registration of Students, and Salamba village attained two awards – Overall Best Girls Summer Camp and Best Girls’ Camp Volunteer. Kherla Government Primary School and Karwarsika Government Primary School earned the Best Headmaster Participation and Best Teacher Participation awards respectively.
In his speech, Guest-of-Honour Mr. Arora congratulated the female scholars for being recognised for their outstanding performance. Highlighting the importance of teachers updating and upgrading their knowledge, he also expressed the hope that they would share their newfound knowledge with other teachers ‘just like how one bulb lights another’, envisioning every champion teacher training 10 other teachers who have not attended the RE programme. Mr. Arora additionally hopes to see all students who have enrolled themselves in school graduating without dropping out. He ended his speech on a heartening note, encouraging the female scholars and RE participants to continue studying and working hard respectively.
We would like to congratulate the female scholars on the recognition of their commendable academic performances, and thank the RE participants and Jashn-e-Taleem Vidya Volunteers for their enthusiastic efforts in promoting education in Mewat. We wish them all the best in their future endeavours.