Creating gems out of tribes – Story of EMRS’s Sudha Painuli

She is the first EMRS teacher who has been honoured with a prestigious National Teacher Award. She also worked for Rajeev Gandhi Navodaya Vidyalaya for 6 years earlier and working with EMRS from 2010 and was among the founding members of the school.

“The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one”, says Malcom Forbes. Ms. Sudha Painuli, Vice Principal of Eklavya Model Residential School, Kalsi, Dehradun is doing the same by educating  tribal children, among whome most of the students are 1st generation of learners. She with her team making the idea of EMRS very effective by providing quality education to the students of tribal areas. She is awarded with National Teacher’s Award 2020 on this Teacher’s Day. She is the first EMRS teacher to be honoured with this award. She also worked for Rajeev Gandhi Navodaya Vidyalaya for 6 years earlier and working with EMRS from 2010 and was among the founding members of the school.

Do watch our conversation with Sudha Ji

Central Government’s scheme of Eklavya Model Residential Schools :

In 1997-98, Government of India came with the idea of Eklavya Model Residential Schools, with the motive of providing qualitative education to the children of mostly tribal areas. Under this, schools are built with residential facilities in highly populated tribal areas. The aim was to provide efficient education to the talented but underprivileged tribal children. Proper screening exams are conducted for enrolling deserving candidates in school.  All the expenses of such schools are provided by Central Government itself. EMRSs are set up in States/UTs with grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution of India. There can be 480 students enrolled in these schools at a time. There is around 266 EMRSs in India according to data of 2018 and more than 450 are about to open till 2022 with the expected expenses of ₹10,000 crores.

Ms. Sudha Painuli by choice opted to join EMRS, Dehradun on 3rd August 2010 as an English teacher with her principal Dr Girish Chandra Badoni, who is also a National Teacher Awardee teacher and 4 other teachers when it started. She learnt the culture of Residential school from him only. Ms Sudha proudly said, “The overall achievement of the Vidyalaya is the result of our Principal Dr Badoni’s visionary leadership and institutional planning. He is my Mentor, my Guide and my Ideal.”  The award she got today is the result of his inspiration and she dedicated it completely to him. Dr Girish Chandra  Badoni is the Founder Principal of Rajiv navodaya also, where Ms Sudha worked as his colleague. Now both have been working together for the last 10 years with a vision to make EMRS, Dehradun as a number one educational institution.

School’s tremendous performance in Academics:

Students of EMRS are from tribal background. They are talented but underprivileged. According to Vice Principal, Sudha Painuli 50% students of school are 1st generation of learners, it makes there job more important towards the children. Not only quality education, but personality development, confidence building, supporting talent and overall development of students are the goals of teachers. Every year 30 girls and 30 boys are enrolled in school in 6th standard by screening test.

In 2017 only, 1st batch of school passed out with impressive performance. This year, in 10th and 12th CBSE, school achieved 100% result. Nikita Chauhan of Arts steam scored 98.6% and marked her name in state’s merit list at 6th position. Quality of education school provide can be understood by the fact that highest percentage in 12th CBSE result 2020, is 98.6 whereas lowest is also 67%. Similarly in 10th standard also highest percentage is 96.4 whereas lowest is 51.6%. From last 3 years school is getting appreciation letter from CBSE for giving 100% result.

This result is achieved by students without any tuitions, which is very rare now a days. School don’t have any tuition teacher for students, rather they facilitate remedial classes to students generally in evening. In these classes students are divided according to their academic graphs and taught accordingly by School teachers. Hence, School is achieving tremendous result every year. Nikita, Sohan, Ruby, Sangita and Upasana of 12th class made school proud by their excellency in CBSE result. “My students are not only good in academics, they are all rounder”, Ms. Sudha Painuli proudly says.

As Ms. Painuli joined the school as an English teacher, she encourages her students to pen down their emotions and experiences. As staying in hostel may not sometimes allow them to express their emotions so pen down these things can have two fold effects – one emotions could be expressed and second development of writing habits. She also encourages use of dictionary. For this she came out with the idea of keeping a dictionary out of every class, which was encouraged by Principal Mr. G. C. Badole. She also helped students to come out from the hesitation of seeing dictionary, on not understanding meaning of English word. The students for whome, speaking even Hindi dialects properly was difficult, teaching them English was a challenging but interesting job for her.

Apart from academics schools also focuses on overall development of students. For this they organise various events and activities. Special preference is given on enhancing inner talent of students.

School initiated the idea of Tribal Museum

School had built a tribal museum for conserving tribal culture. Students from 5 tribes of Uttarakhand Studies in school. Teachers ask the students to bring articles of daily use, old coins, jewelry, books, traditional dresses, entice utensils etc from there homes and preserve them in museum. This practice is adopted by School in order to conserve and share each others culture and ethnic values. Mr. Arjun Munda, Minister in Uttarakhand government appreciated this practice of students by writing letter to them. Apart from museum, cultural gatherings are also organised to preserve tribal culture. Under this students are divided into various groups and perform Folk lore or folk dance of any one tribe. This way all students become aware of each others culture.

The ‘Eklavya Birthday Garden’ of school

School has created an ‘Eklavya Birthday Garden’, where students plant fruit or medicinal plants on their birthdays. Living in a residential school, many students provide chance to celebrate birthdays with families. Therefor to bring the feeling of equality and togetherness, this idea of plantation is adopted. Not only plantation, but students are also responsible for taking care and nourishment of plant they planted. At the end of academic year, best nurtured plant by students is awarded to 1 girl and 1 boy. “There are more than 200 fruit and medicinal plants in school”, Ms. Painuli told. In this row, now school is also planning to make a ‘Herbal Vatika’ in school.

Theatre : A part of Education

Bookish knowledge is not the only way of education, school believes. Therefore school gives equal importance to theatre as well. They are tied up with ‘Sambhav Manch Parivar’ for this purpose. It’s member Mr. Abhishek Mandula plays an important role in conducting theatre activities in school. Students are taught with dialogues, make up, script, stage decoration, directing and every single aspect of theatre on a regular basis. As a result of these lessons, in annual gathering of school, students perform a Hindi and an English play on stage. Apart from this, students also perform Nukkad Natak to create social awareness.

This practice of theatre proved very successful. Theatre helped shy students to come out of their shyness. It also motivated the students whose academic graphs were down. “One such student was Vijendra Tomar”, Ms. Sudha told. Theatre built confidence in him and today he is giving his services in Indian Army. “He is the first achiever, passed out from our school”, Ms. Painuli says.

Organising Skill Development Workshops after final exams

EMRS, Dehradun focuses on extra curricular activities equally as curricular activities. Every year in the month of March after the completion of final exams, various activities are organized on the basis of hobbies and talents of students. For this various groups are formed on the basis of student’s hobbies and interest. Then on that basis, students are trained in different arts and crafts activities, textile designing, painting, creativity etc. Experts are called for this purpose. Teachers from school also teach various skills to students during this process. At the end of this training period, a Mega Workshop is organized by students, under which creativity of students are presented and sold. Last year only, students made various candles, as tought by Principal Dr. G. C. Badole and sold it in workshop at a profit of ₹4,500. This way students are also learning the art of marketing. These handmade articles are also gifted to any visiting guest of school.

Other remarkable activities of school

Day by day school is trying to improve itself. In this row, it started process of compost making out of food waste. This Step was adopted by Principal of school to prevent wastage of food. Apart from this, school also fixed Sanitary napkin welding machine in girl’s hostel for facilitating them during their menstrual cycle. As a response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal towards environment protection, school made various cotton bags out of old bed sheets of hostel.

A team of young Teachers

Sudha Painuli, the Vice Principal of EMRS, Dehradun told that their team is consist of young and aspiring teachers who are full of enthusiasm and spirit for the education of students. Teachers of school are liberal to taught students in their own way. This makes study more efficient and effective in school. School work with the motive of imparting good values to students. Focus remain on educating students, not just giving good academic records. For fulfilling this goal, teachers are liberal to take different initiatives.

Shree Bheem Singh, Physical Education, PGT Teacher of school is one of the founding teachers of school. He is very proud of Sudha Painuli, getting National Teacher’s Award 2020. Science teacher, Mr. Jasveer Singh and other teachers are also very happy and excited on their Vice Principal’s achievement. School is proud on having National Teacher Awardee Principal and Vice Principal in their  school.

Support to other schools

EMRS, Dehradun has made itself a well sufficient school. Thorough it’s infrastructure and sufficiency it also helps other government schools of region. Ms Sudha Painuli ask government school teachers to take books and magazines for their school’s students monthly and train them with the art of reading and writing. Apart from this school also provide free coaching of one month to the students who are willing to give screening examination of EMRS. Teachers and previous students volunteer in this process. This way they try to give an opportunity to talented underprivileged tribal students.

Work during COVID :

“A good human is one who not only think for himself, but think for the whole society”, EMRS, Dehradun also has these values. During this COVID crises they were not only working for education of their students, but working for all students. School, Principal, Vice Principal and all teachers have their separate YouTube channels in which they upload learning videos. These videos can be accessible by all students throughout the world. This way they are supporting education of all those students affected by these crises.

Apart from education, school is also supporting society during this time. They are volunteering in making masks from the first lockdown itself. They are proving masks and other items of essentials to front line workers and needies. They also started social awareness program against COVID for the people of rural and tribal areas.

Ms. Sudha Painuli’s aim is to make her students good human beings so that wherever they will go, they will put a mark of theirs. In this lockdown she and other teachers are impatient to meet their students. She believes that “Work has to be done, choice is ours – we want to do it happily or forcefully.” She dedicate her award to her parents, teachers of school and lovely students, who made her a teacher whome the nation is recognizing. We should idolise Sudha Painuli’s thought of – “I’m not everything, but I’m something”, which inspires her to work harder for school and students. salutes Ms. Sudha Painuli – the creator of India’s tomorrow, her efforts and dedication. Sarkari sabse Asarkari.

(With Shreya Nakade)

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About the author: Abhishek Ranjan

Abhishek Ranjan is the Founder and Director of SarkariSchool.IN

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