The School That Changed The Village: Meet Rakesh Patel
Mr. Rakesh Patel was the person who grew the seed of education with lots of dreams and now the seed has become a tree which is “Masti ki Pathshala”, which shelters the whole village.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world “
The above quote best suits Mr. Rakesh Patel, National teacher awardee (2017). His school, founded in the year 1975, where he joined in 1998, is known as “Masti ki pathshala” is in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat. The school is in Navanadisar village and is as old as the village itself.
Changing rules by removing unnecessary ones
Mr. Rakesh Patel is the principal of the school and removed all the “so-called ” rules, which made little sense”. As the name of the school, there is something really fascinating about school.
It is the ‘Student’s parliament system’.
It has a reshuffling committee, whose duration is 15 days. It has its own president, vice president, other group heads, and its own constitution. And also has regular voting regarding respective matters. Because of this, students of ‘Masti Ki Pathshala’ have drastically improved their decision power and language capacity by handling all internal and external affairs of the school. Students take concrete steps for every activity because textbook reading is easy, but reading and understanding any government letter and working according to it is not a simple task. Cabinets of members decide what they should do! And teachers are supportive of their decision. For instance, they have decided that they will not allow shoes in school. So whoever comes, they must follow the rule even if the person is an IAS officer or any famous personality. Rules in the school are the same for everyone. One rule among it is, there should not be any chair or table in the school and all students including teachers should follow them.
A SCHOOL WITH CHOICE
Mr. Rakesh Patel shared an incident of their student committee power. The new school building was built 3 years ago and had to give colour. Usually, the government decides the colour of the school, but students of “Masti ki pathshala” have their separate plans. The students wanted the school colour as per their choice. The student committee convinced the head engineer in such a way that he had to agree upon the terms laid by students.
THE INCREDIBLE SCHOOL AND THE TEACHERS
Teachers of the school have always provided gradual freedom with the support. It took 12 years but has now a strong parliament system of students and teachers. They solve every problem of school with discussion.” The conversation is the primary key ” according to the head teacher Mr. Rakesh Patel. Still, many students of the school don’t know that he is the headteacher, and he does not even consider himself as one.
THE CEILING FAN INCIDENT
The school organizes ‘Gramotsavam’ an event in which people of all religions, caste, creed, etc. celebrate their “one” festival. During that, someone found out that one fan of the classroom had gone stolen. Several people gave many recommendations to Mr. Rakesh Patel to find the culprit. Mr. Patel uttered just one sentence to make the culprit guilty. He said,” One of us has stolen the fan and that person shouldn’t have done that, they made a mistake, but the culprit should rectify it”
They found a fan the very next day near the gate along with ‘screws’ as well. The culprit realized that even his one action can affect the entire village negatively. Thus, by not giving strict punishment or scolding the culprit, Mr. Patel resolved this matter peacefully. This nature of Mr. Patel reminds us of our greatest leader ‘Gandhi’, nonviolence, and peace!
STIMULATING THE SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
“Masti ki Pathshala” is now developing in ‘jeevan Shiksha shikshan’ (Real-life education).The school emphasis on providing practical knowledge. For example, “who can teach students better measurements?” To solve this problem even though schools are having qualified teachers, they also appoint shepherds, carpenters as the teachers. So students can learn from real-life professionals.
The school teaches gardening, agriculture, and cleanliness activities too. School updates their blogs a regularon a regular basis and has their e-magazinemagazine called ‘bioscope’. Mr. Rakesh Patel uses social media to tell people amazing stuff they do in their school and inspires others and for effective engagement too.
Village has played an important role in the school’s improvement and is the main core of the school.
MEETING WITH PRIME MINISTER
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recognized Mr.. Rakesh Patel during their meeting with other National Teacher Awardee, even though they met after 10 years. The prime minister recalled his name of a district, Mr Patel thought maybe he was saying it by just reading about candidate’s information but when he said his name of the village too (Navanadisar), Mr Patel was astonished because there is no mention of his village name in candidate’s information.
That was a very proud moment for Mr.. Patel as well as for villagers. He also tweeted about his significant work and considered him as an asset of the nation. It is hard to believe that a village that didn’t have light 25 years ago, is today on the verge of achieving the best school and this fact left village people in tears.
Mr. Rakesh Patel was the person who grew the seed of education with lots of dreams and now the seed has become a tree which is “Masti ki Pathshala” , which shelters the whole village.
“if you are in government school, how people see you is not important but how you see yourself is important ” — Rakesh Patel.