February 11th, 2017
This is an incredible story of a group of old students, who, along with the villagers from a village called Yazil, in Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh, revived an under performing government school to one of the top schools in the district.
Mr Naga Raju initiated this movement to transform his village school. He listed out all the dropped out kids of the surrounding villages and visited each and every home, sat with the parents of the kids and convinced them to send their kids to school.He used to say to parents “Education is very important and I am the live example. Today I am Vice President of a big corporate company, please send your kids to school.I will take care of kids, food and transportation”.
Yazali ZP High School was established 57 years ago in Yazil. There were times when the school had hardly twelve students appearing for the tenth-grade public examination. Parents were not willing to admit their children to the school, and there was also a low commitment from the teachers and drop in the number of children transiting from fifth to sixth grade.
The school neither had a library nor a laboratory or a playfield. The only two parameters to gauge the students’ ability of learning were the results of seventh and tenth grade, in which Yazali ZP High School was below the district and state averages. Due to deterioration of the school, the students in the village started getting into bad habits. In 2003, three students died in an accident while driving drunk.
After this, the transformation of the school began with the efforts of old students, teaching staff and school management. They have been working and reviving the school for over a decade.
The alumni, with support from villagers, brainstormed and resolved to transform the school to provide better education and bring change in the attitude of students. Now the school has enviable laboratories and well-equipped digital and traditional libraries. With the support of the government, they can now connect to the best teachers in the world via virtual classrooms.
Well settled alumni donated their earnings to the construction of more classrooms, a 500 seater dining hall along with clean drinking water and washrooms.
Developments in the school:
- A 100% pass rate of all students appearing for tenth-grade Public Exams.
- Parents prefer to admit their children in Yazil ZP High School instead of the private schools.
- The Headmaster and the teachers are highly motivated and dedicate themselves to the challenge of providing quality education.
- The school has a well-equipped library (both digital and traditional), an enviable laboratory for science and mathematics and an all- weather playground.
- It has started the virtual classroom to connect the expert teachers all over the world with the support from the government.
- The liberal and proud contributions of the old students of the school had resulted in many additional classrooms, a huge dining hall and excellent drinking water and washroom facilities.
- The school has attracted the kind attention of various bureaucrats and policymakers alike that made replication of these efforts possible elsewhere.
- Many children from the school have completed High School and successfully obtained the prized seats in International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) – a very prestigious educational institution in the state.
- Personality development sessions from leading psychologists and educationalists for good character building.
- Special coaching classes for the students appearing for public examinations, along with providing the nutritious food.
During 2014-15 academic year, out of 75 ZP high schools, at Division Level, Aamani from ZPHS Yazali was the only student to secure 10/10 in Board Examinations. She also received AP State Puraskar Award for her efforts. Last year two students received Ramineni Puraskar. This year in District level Maths Olympiad, both first and second positions were secured by students from this school.
The school has also become a hub for sports, standing out as a district champion in Kho-Kho for five years. Many students represented the District team. Also, this year, four students are representing State Teams in Athletics and Kho-Kho Nationals. Cultural Activities are one more strength of this school. It got selected as one of the top 10 schools of AP. Every festival is celebrated to make the students understand more about diversity and different cultures. Parents of best students are felicitated to inspire other parents to be equally involved in their children’s education.
The entire schools is running on LED bulbs, and there are plans to make completely Solar. Also, there are plans for establishing a renewable energy lab along with Kitchen garden to grow vegetables for Mid-Day meals.
The driving force behind all these are teachers who are putting their full effort in training students. Last four years Mr Pothu Raju, Ms Swarna Kumari, Mr Samba Siva Rao, School HM Ms Rama Devi were felicitated as best in their vertical at the district level.
Learning is a treasure which follows its owner everywhere and one which cannot be taken away. Things taught in school are not an education but the means of an education. The school is transforming every day. This transformation has impressed various policy makers and bureaucrats, and they are implementing this elsewhere.
The school’s alumnus, Mr Lakshmi Narayana Ikkurti has left his high paying software job to develop his village, Yazali, and is working towards creating a trend of romanticism towards farming. India shall get into safe hands as long as school education is given a high priority.
Mahatma Gandhi said,”The future of India lies in its villages.” A nation develops when both urban and rural societies develop together. Education is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world. Because to educate is to turn walls into doors.
So, for the development of Rural India, education in Villages should be strong. Schools run by Zilla Parishads should be on par with private schools and students should pass the knowledge to their families. If this is done and best practices are practised in every household, the children from rural India will also shine.
The villagers also established Yazali an organisation to transform their village into a model village. As a not-for-profit organisation, Yazali – Naa Janma Bhoomi aims to work for bringing upliftment for Yazali village in areas of agriculture, rural development, public sanitation, education, women empowerment, healthcare, wellness, rural rehabilitation, creating livelihoods, etc. The trust also destines to transform Yazali as a Model Village in the entire Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh state in India.
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