Former IPS officer’s night schools are a boon for village kids in Jharkhand

Ranchi (IANS) Evenings of children of 80 odd villages spread across Jharkhand’s three districts are spent in a unique way. As the sun sets, jute mats are rolled out, emergency lights are switched on and children’s school starts.

The study here does not mean a basic classwork – homework pattern, but it is a knowledge and fun class of two-and-a-half hours in which training is imparted on debate, dance, music, sports, computer and internet to name a few.

In the school, there is no teacher and education is also free. Based on the formula of self help, this movement began five-six year ago and its facilitator is former Punjab Police IG Dr Arun Oraon.

Currently, three districts of the state — Ranchi, Lohardaga, Gumla — have 80 such schools.

Oraon, a 1992 batch IPS officer, felt that to do something big, he should return to his state and in 2014, he came back to Jharkhand after opting for VRS.

Dr Oraon told IANS that after taking VRS he started teaching some students at his home. At that time he felt to do something for the village kids so that they also get good education.

After that, Baba Kartik Oraon Night school was started in Ranchi’s Uchari village. Kartik Oraon was a political heavyweight of Jharkhand and was an MP.

No government or corporate funding has been taken for the schools run in his names. On personal level, well-off people and public representatives provide some help. These schools are monitored by Adivasi Vikas Parishad.

Operations of first such school in Uchari village in 2014 were run by Anil Oraon.

Anil said that on the first day, three children joined, in seven to ten days, 40 kids joined and today, 200 kids attend the school.

Wherever a school is opened, college going youth or one who has graduated pledge for donation of labour. The parishad arranges for few mats, emergency lights and blackboard.

After every three months, the Parishad reviews the arrangements and management of the night schools.

Every school has 150-200 students and five to ten teachers. On January 8, 80th such school was opened in Ranchi’s Kumhariyan village, where two youths Pankaj and Sandeep pledged to teach the kids.

In 80 such schools, more than 300 teachers are teaching around 4,000 kids.

Tribal dominated villages of Jharkhand have “Akhada” and “Dhumkudiya” (public places of the village where people gather for connecting to life’s practical aspects and socio cultural traditions). Most of the night schools are run in Akhadas and Dhumkudiyas or in community hall or hallway.

The Parishad also organises workshops for such teachers from time to time in which they are taught techniques to make study easy and interesting.

Four such schools have been provided with computers, where through projectors, digital classes have begun.

For students of Class 1 to 10, subject-wise classes are held. In many schools, libraries have been opened.

On Thursdays, classes are held on cultural activities. After class of local language, elders of the village bear the responsibility of teaching them traditional dance and music. Yoga and exercise have also become integral part of curriculum. On Sunday or any other holiday, students are provided football training. Intellectual and cultural competitions are organised for children and best performers are awarded.

Students are crazy for inter school football competition.

Dr Arun Oraon said: “Now our focus is on making these children ready for competitive exams.’

Youth who are interested in Army, Central Security Forces and police are being trained by retired Army and police officials.

Sewing centre has been opened to make women self dependent.

In past two years, when school and colleges were shut due to COVID-19, night schools were operating with Covid-19 protocol in place.

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