Trailblazing on the Path to Education4All

Trailblazing on the Path to Education4All

“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” 
― John Wooden

As children, we all dream of becoming people and professionals that others can look up to. A large part of the efforts made in adolescence are geared towards becoming this kind of a person. For some, these dreams come true. Deepti Gupta, a primary school teacher from Trilokpuri area in Delhi is one such example. She dreamed of becoming a teacher since she was a young girl. Her parents also supported this idea and would play along with her games as a child. Even when she called out to them, they would answer back as though she was taking attendance in class. Deepti drew inspiration from her 10th grade English teacher who really helped her and all her other batch-mates to do well in their exams. For a student weak in English, like Deepti, the extra effort put in by her teacher was genuinely inspiring. Till date she is grateful to her teacher and even went and met her once she became a teacher herself.

Deepti has been a school teacher for 16 years now, and continues to sound as excited and motivated as ever. She is currently teaching 3rd standard students and says they’re the best batch she has ever had. Deepti believes that habits that can be inculcated in students from a young age have much deeper impacts. She took the initiative to start the ‘No Plastic Campaign’ in her school and has been discouraging her students from using plastic in any form. And even if they do use/see any plastic, it is collected and put together in one place from where an NGO that they have tied up with picks it up for segregation and recycling. The campaign has been going well and the District Education Officer (DEO). said that they have plans to make it into a Delhi level campaign.

She participated in Mission Buniyaad[1], a government scheme to help students who tend to fall behind in academics. Classes are held over the summer for such students and by creating trust in the form of games, they are taught the curriculum. Deepti said that this helped her understand the needs of the students better and pay more attention to their requirements.

She also spoke about a child who wasn’t regular at school and how she was able to draw him in by really understanding what he needs. When the initial cajoling and talking to parents did not have the desired effect, she realized what the child really needed was motherly affection, a bond with the school via the teacher that would make him want to come back. After this instance, she made it a point to highlight different aspects of the school to ensure that every child feels like there is value in going to school.

Further, to ensure smooth functioning of the school, Deepti and the other teachers actively mobilise the parents to participate in the School Management Committee (SMC) meetings. If there are any new families that come to live in the area, the Principal of the school reaches out to them to ease them into the process of enrolling their children into the school. The teachers happily volunteer to fill out the forms so as to not let any hesitation on behalf of the parents come in the way of their children’s education. Deepti expressed some frustration initially over children joining her class mid-session as they are lost and it disrupts the flow of the syllabus. It takes time for students who have been out-of-school to get into the rhythm of school, which she found very distracting. Until, they had a workshop where she got an answer to this trouble. They were told to treat a child who was out of school as someone who had been fasting (vrat), and asked whether they would give such a person a well-cooked meal or a badly cooked meal! This infused in her the spirit to cherish each of her students and help others reach their dream careers just like she did!

JOSH in partnership with Oxfam India helps to mobilise parents and teachers in the community to keep their motivations high and innovates to meet with challenges. When children become irregular, the ground presence of JOSH helps reach out to people and identify why they’re not coming to school or if they have migrated out of the locality. With teachers like Deepti, students are sure to get encouraged not only to continue their education but also to aspire to become teachers like her.


[1] Mission Buniyaad is a scheme by the Delhi government to ensure that all children of class 3 to 9th are able to read, write and do basic maths.


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