The Vibrant Khor-Basai GMS
According to Mr Shaminder Kumar, head-master of Khor-Basai Government Middle School, his school boasts one of the highest attendances in the whole of the Mewat District. The high attendance may be attributed to the variety of co-curricular activities which students can participate in. These activities include music, sports, arts and craft and even dance, catering to the students’ varied interests.
As we stepped into the school, we were struck by how vibrant the student life at Khor-Basai GMS was. We sat down with their head-master and found out what some of these activities are, his reasons for implementing them and how he went about doing it.
Co-Curricular Activities at Khor-Basai GMS
Mr Shaminder Kumar recognizes that co-curricular activities play a vital role in the development of his students. These activities are also encouraged by the State Government and the SRF Foundation.
As such, he has made it a point to ensure that the school offers a variety of activities, which are well implemented. Together with his staff, he introduces physical activities, arts and crafts, music, and other things which are not found in the textbook.
The students of the school play games such as kho-kho and rope-skipping during their break. They also take part in sports such as badminton and volley-ball. The students take these activities as an opportunity to exercise their bodies. Team sports also allow them to learn about the importance of team-work. According to Mr Shaminder Kumar, students of the school have actually taken part in state level competitions, where they performed very well.
In addition to sports and games, yoga sessions are also conducted during morning assembly.
Arts and Craft
Arts and craft play an important role in the classroom. They are used as a means of imparting important lessons in a manner which interests the students. They also let the students express their unique creativity. One of the teachers of the school shared with us that the students find joy in making art pieces and are able to absorb the information better. The pieces made by the students are used to adorn the walls of the classroom, making the place more beautiful and stimulating for learning.
PT Show (Physical Training Show)
Students of the school are taught how to make music using the musical dumbbell and the lazium. The dumbbell and the lazium are percussion instruments which the students play while making synchronized movements. The activity, which combines music with physical movements, is known as the the PT Show, or Physical Training Show.
They practice constantly in order to achieve harmony. Led by a teacher on drums, the students perform in sync, moving their bodies and beating their instruments as one. The students of Khor-Basai GMS put up dumbbell and lazium performances during important events in the school calendar such as festivals and national holidays.
Every Saturday morning the school conducts a bal sabha, which is an assembly for the students. During the bal sabha, students are given a platform to showcase whatever skill they desire. When we visited, we had the privilege of seeing a couple of students sing, dance, and act and even perform a comedic routine. Two students even did imitations of animals, which had the whole school laughing.
Implementing Co-Curricular Activities
Mr Shaminder Kumar told us that implementing so many co-curricular activities required the coordination of the staff, the community, and the students. It could be difficult at times, he admitted, but he has been blessed with a committed staff and enthusiastic students who are passionate about school.
A difficulty he encounters is getting the cooperation of the students’ parents who fail to see the value of education, and of co-curricular activities. The head-master said that it takes a lot of convincing, and he stresses upon the parents the importance of education and the benefits that it will have on their children and on society, as a whole.
The head-master, during the interview, gave credit for the school’s success to everyone except for himself. A teacher told us that the head-master is actually the secret ingredient. He is the backbone of the school, and he has a unique ability to motivate the students and the teachers. At the end of the day, leadership from the head-master plays an extremely important role.
Motivational Talks at Morning Assembly
In addition to co-curricular activities, the head-master also highlighted the school’s practice of giving motivational talks during assembly as an important factor to the students’ development.
During the school’s morning assembly, the head-master asks members of the staff and students to share motivational speeches with the school. These speeches aim to encourage students to work harder in school, and also to become morally outstanding citizens in the future. When we visited, Mr Parveen Kumar, an English teacher in the school, gave a talk on the importance of finishing school, and how doing well in school will make their parents, teachers, school and village proud.
Such talks instill important values one might not learn in the classroom. Being given by their teachers and even their peers, the students are also able to relate to the advice better.
A Vibrant and Motivated Student Population
The students of Khor-Basai GMS are an enthusiastic and lively bunch. During our visit, they were extremely friendly, and encouraged us to join them in their games. We believe that the school’s variety of activities, which are well-implemented, and the motivational talks, have made a significant impact on its students, giving them an opportunity to grow and to shine.
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.