Best Practices – Holistic Development at Kawarsika GMS & GPS

Introduction

The Kawarsika Government Middle School (GMS) and Government Primary School (GPS) are made up of a total of 407 students and 10 teachers. The Kawarsika GMS and GPS rank amongst the best schools in the district. The schools put a strong emphasis on the holistic development of the students and their practices are emulated by other schools in the area. This remarkable feat can be credited to Mr Muhammad Fazil, Head-Master of GMS and Mr Thawer Singh, Head-master of GPS and their team for constantly striving to improve the school.

Students at Kawarsika GMS.

We spoke to the both of them to find out more about their teaching practices and philosophies.

Speaking with the Head-Master

Mr Fazil shared with us that from his years of teaching, he firmly believes that Kawarsika School is one of the best schools he has been to, with students who are disciplined and all-rounded. He attributed several factors for this success.

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Mr Fazil, Head-Master of Kawarsika GMS.

Working together with the Community

First, the school has very good ties with the community they serve. The teachers constantly have meeting with the village council so they can suggest improvements to the school. Such engagements pave the way for collaboration between the two parties.

For example, the center of the school used to be uneven land. Through dialogues with the community, the school was able to raise sufficient funds to build pathways and to level off the ground. He also added that by working closely with the community, the state government and the SRF Foundation, decisions are made faster, and improvements can be implemented more easily.

Holistic Development of Students

Second, the school focuses on the holistic development of the student, imparting on its students other skills which are important for their growth. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in extra-curriculum activities which range from sports such as volleyball, badminton and soccer to arts such as painting, drawing and arts and crafts. Some students actually represent the school in sports competition within the district.

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Students playing volleyball during their break.

Every morning, the school also conducts morning physical exercises, prayer sessions, and updates the students with the latest news. These activities, which go beyond the syllabus, allow the students to learn beyond their textbooks and explore other areas of interests.

Good Learning Environment

Third, a factor which many other schools neglect is the learning environment. Unlike other schools, the Kawarsika school complex has a park, and has plenty of greenery in its surroundings. These plants have been planted by the school and are maintained daily by the students. Mr Fazil stressed that it is important to create a positive environment so that the children will enjoy coming to school.

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A student watering the plant in the campus.

Mr Thawer Singh, head master of Kawarsika GPS, first started planting plants in the school in 2006. Without any funding from the government, he forked out money from his own pocket. His efforts were finally recognized when the school was awarded 50000 Rs by the state government for having the most beautiful school in the area. The school’s beautiful surroundings allow for learning and create an atmosphere in which students can play freely.

Activity-based Learning

The teaching-style used in the school is unique as well. The teachers use an innovative method called the “Play Way Method” to engage the class so that they would be more interested in learning. Props such as flash cards and cardboards and games are used to     engage the interest of the students. For the more mischievous students in the school, a special class is arranged for them, where an even more interactive style of learning is used. Songs, poems and role-play are also used to facilitate learning.

During our research, the kids flocked to us to shows us the variety of artwork that they have made during their lessons. This shows that innovative methods used by the teachers are certainly working. Furthermore, the children seem to be very disciplined, and they show a lot of enthusiasm in class.

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An artwork done by a student for class.

Innovative Practices

The school is constantly implementing innovative practices which seek to improve the learning experience of the students. One such area is the tracking of attendance. Teachers mark students’ attendance on a chart with stickers. Students are rewarded with small gifts like stationery if they go for a month without missing classes. The school also has sessions where teachers teach fellow teachers good practices in the classroom. Such sessions allow the best practices to be shared, ultimately benefiting the students of the school.

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An attendance chart from a classroom.

IBM Kidsmart

Kawarsika GPS is also one of the schools selected for the IBM Kidsmart Programme, a collaboration between the Government of Haryana, IBM and the SRF foundation to bring the latest technology and innovative methodologies to the schools in the region.

This unique programme offers children from low socio-economic status communities good quality learning opportunities in their school years. Under this program, the Kawarsika GPS has been provided with computers, furniture and educational software which enhance children’s learning and creativity through technology. Classes are split into three smaller groups; technology, reading and craft, and lessons are crafted to be highly-interactive.

As a result, students are exposed to modern technology, pick up reading at a faster rate and are imparted skills which may not be found within the curriculum.

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Students learning with the computer in the IBM Kidsmart Classroom.

Positive Results

The school has seen positive results from these practices. 4 years ago, only 100 students attended GPS. Today, they have 267. Similarly positive news has been witnessed in the Middle School. These would not have been possible without the purposeful leadership demonstrated by the head-masters and teachers of the school, anchored by the support of the community, corporations such as IBM, and the SRF Foundation.

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Mr Tawer Singh, Head-Master of Kawarsika GMS.

Mr Fazil shared with us that he believes that despite the positive results, there is still room for improvement. He wants the students to be able to speak fluent English, and he wants the school to be the top school in the state. At the rate that they’re going, we’re sure that they’ll be able to achieve just that.

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.

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