Mulyavardhan Helps Change the School Environment
Ralegan Siddhi village, in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, is already in the limelight because it is Anna Hazare’s** village, a model village for its environmental conservation practices.
The village primary school is very close to Hazare’s residence and he is closely involved in all school matters. The school premise is very clean, free, and as expected surrounded by trees. However, in the recent years a number of complaints arose by the villagers about the school the main one being the reduction of the number of students in the school.
In the 2018-2019 academic, the transfer of all the teachers resulted in three new teachers coming to the school. The new teachers decided immediately to initiate radical changes in the school and felt fortunate Mulyavardhan came to their rescue. The Principal (as a motivator) and two other teachers attended the Mulyavardhan training in June 2018 and so from the beginning of the year Mulyavardhan activities were implemented consistently in the school.
With Mulyavardhan activities like cooperative games, group discussions and pair work, parents and villagers started noticing children’s joy and enthusiasm in learning and the desire to come to school. With this development, parents who had admitted their children to other schools decided to bring back their children to this school.
During a chat with the children we were able to see for ourselves children’s interest and full engagement with Mulyavardhan activities. When asked questions like, “What is this?” “What did you do while learning this?” and “What do you do other than study in school?”, children would recall the specific activities and were even able to tell the entire story from an activity they had done.
Shri Ramesh Pawde, the headmaster of the school, is actively supports the Mulyavardhan programme. He has compiled a collection of newspaper cuttings consisting of puzzles, poems, parables, general knowledge, etc. for the children. During free times, children read these cuttings.
Shri Ramesh Pawde believes that due to Mulyavardhan children have started writing on their own. He takes a Mulyavardhan activity with children where they have to complete a Marathi song after they are given the first two lines below:
अंगणात रिंगण, रिंगणात अंगण
अंगणात ससा कसा कसा? …. दोन लांब कानांचा ससा …
The children add 5-6 more lines to the song and we witness children enhancing their expressive and creative abilities through this simple activity. Recognising the importance of Mulyavardhan the school has scheduled 3 hours per week for it. If some longer Mulyavardhan activities cannot be completed in the assigned 3 hours, the independent hour is used to complete those activities.
Ralegan Siddhi village has a spiritual environment due to the Bhajan and Keettan traditions in the village. Children learn the playing of tabla informally at home. Mulyavardhan has influenced artistic expression, which didn’t exist before, and the school’s daily prayers ae now conducted with a musical instrument. Thus the musical tradition of the village is reflected in the school further adding to the happy environment of the school.
Center Chief Shri Balkrishna Khose says,
‘’Mulyavardhan activities are responsible for reviving the image of the school and positively changing the attitude of villagers.’’ One teacher, Suresh Gaikwad, said, ‘’Mulyavardhan has helped to bring back children who left this school to study in the Private English Medium school. Parents have also expressed that more children who have left the school will come back next year.”