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Earlier in January 2023, President Droupadi Murmu stated that steps such as the construction of separate toilets in schools for girls and schemes related to menstrual hygiene led to a sharp decline in the dropout rate of girl students. While addressing the Parliament, she noted that the government is removing all obstacles from education to a career for the "daughters." Working jointly toward this goal, Bihar's brick kiln owner's association have volunteered to construct toilets for girls in the state-run secondary and higher secondary schools.
450 Schools To Ensure Facilities For Girl Children
The lack of adequate hygiene facilities has been observed as one of the major barriers to school attendance and the education of children, especially girls. Children spend a significant part of their day at school, and the quality of water, sanitation, and hygiene impact their life immensely. Several research studies from the past have shown how girls drop out of school due to a lack of access and proper facilities for menstrual hygiene and sanitation.
Acting up on this concern, Bihar Int Nirmata Sangh (BINS) - a brick kiln owners' association, has volunteered to construct toilets for girls in the state-run secondary and higher secondary schools. The association had already constructed several toilets in schools in Katihar, Madhepura, Begusarai, West and East Champaran, and Saran districts. Now they aim to build toilets in 450 schools across the state within the coming three to four months.
BINS President Murari Kumar said that they had forwarded the proposal to the education department and the Women and Child Development Corporation (WDC). The aim is to create a safe and secure environment for girls in their schools. Talking about their decision to construct the toilets, Kumar added, "We want our daughters not to drop out due to lack of toilets."
Prioritising Menstrual Hygiene
Additional Chief Secretary of the education department, Dipak Kumar Singh, said that the proposal from BINS has been received. A report by India Today stated that respective education officers would be providing BINS a list of schools where construction or renovation of toilets for girl students is required.
Welcoming the initiative, the WDC chairperson and managing director Harjot Kaur Bamhrah spoke of the many measures adopted to ensure proper hygiene facilities for girl students. The WDC, in association with the education department, is installing sanitary pad dispensers in the schools. Since 2016, they also have a scheme in place under which girls are given ₹300 each for maintaining their menstrual hygiene.
A five-year collaborative project between the Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and about 45,000 educators and students from Maharashtra wrapped up successfully on 21 November 2022. The initiative was launched to improve the quality of early childhood education in Mumbai and actively explored the possibilities of exchanging knowledge, skills, and experience. With the project's conclusion, SIF and India marked yet another milestone in their long-cherished friendship. Ever since 1995, SIF has brought together Singaporeans and Indians to work on shared challenges at the people-to-people level.
Toward A Brighter And Better Future
Early childhood education (ECE) is a crucial element that builds the foundation for a child's education. It plays a decisive role in the success of every stage of education that follows. According to UNICEF, the failure to provide quality early childhood education limits a child’s future and is equivalent to denying them opportunities to reach their full potential. Multiple studies on how pre-primary education advances development stands as evidence of this fact.
In a bid to ensure that quality early childhood education reaches one and all, the SIF launched the ECE Curriculum Enhancement and Pedagogy Project with several educators in Mumbai. The cross-border initiative was organised in 2017 in collaboration with the Muktangan Education Trust, a non-profit organisation that supports municipal schools in Mumbai.
The objective was plain and simple - enhance the ECE curriculum and the capabilities of teachers in Mumbai. Over the years, a team of Singapore International Volunteers (SIVs) comprising 32 educators engaged with 700 educators in Mumbai through online and in-person workshops, study visits, and a symposium. It came to a conclusion by 2022, having benefited over 45,000 educators and students in Maharashtra.
Educating And Empowering Thousands
As a result of the five-year-long collaboration, thousands of children in Maharashtra between the ages of three and eight now receive better education. About 39 Indian Master Trainers were equipped with the skills and knowledge to train other ECE educators. They taught at least 3,400 teachers how to improve curricula and developed new teaching and assessment skills. According to the SIF website, the project saw its concluding note with a symposium held in Mumbai in November 2022. SIVs, Muktangan members, and project participants were among the hundreds of guests present at the event to mark the conclusion of the project.
During the event, Mr Ng Herk Low, the SIF Division Director, said, "Early childhood education is an essential building block of a child’s growth. We are privileged to have worked with Muktangan Education Trust on this initiative to help ensure that children in Mumbai have access to quality formative education." He also added that the SIF looks forward to more such opportunities to uplift lives and build a better world together. With the completion of the project, SIF and India marked yet another milestone in their 26-year-long friendship.
Saying it with roses and thank you notes, about 50 students from several schools across Bangalore expressed gratitude to the city's traffic police. Understanding the many hardships the officers go through and the efforts they put in to keep the traffic moving in the city, the children wanted to ensure the officer's work did not go unappreciated. The event organised by the Children's Movement For Civic Awareness (CMCA), a non-profit organisation that has worked toward empowering the country's youth to be civic-minded and socially conscious citizens.
Celebrating Namma Police
It was a day of gratitude at the Traffic Police Park as 50 students from different schools, and 50 Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP) officers came together for the event - "Celebrating Namma Bengaluru's Traffic Police." The event, organised by CMCA, wrapped up a three-month-long programme where several volunteers made students aware of the role played by the city traffic police. CMCA often conducts similar programmes among school children to inculcate citizenship and life skills education. This event, too, helped build awareness among the students and understand the value of the rules and laws better.
An article by The Hindu quoted a Class seven student saying, "We are grateful to our traffic police for keeping us safe. That is why I wanted to express a big "thank you" to them." Many children like her lauded the BTP for their services and gifted them with cards, poems, and messages. They also got the chance to interact with the police officers. The officers, who were touched by the kind gesture, thanked the children for making their day.
Empathising With Those Keeping Roads Safe
Special Commissioner (Traffic), MA Saleem, spoke during the event and thanked the children for their gesture. He said, "This is a moment of nostalgia for me. We had such celebrations in the past, and CMCA has continued to recognise the work of the traffic police." Often their contributions go unnoticed by many, and it's during times of chaos in the city that they often realise the need for the policing system. Talking about the growing challenges faced by the traffic police, MA Saleem noted that the city has been growing enormously, with over one crore vehicles, and is expected to grow even further.
Decongesting the roads is a task round the clock, but regardless of that, they have stayed committed to the service. During such times, small gestures extended by the school kids helped boost their morale immensely, and many officers noted that it helped them work better. The officers noted that the students following the traffic rules would be the biggest thank you and contribution they can make. Concluding the event, Priya Krishnamurthy, Co-Founder and CEO of CMCA, said that the children were able to understand that their right to safe roads comes with the responsibility to follow traffic rules.
Manish Sisodia, Delhi's deputy chief minister and minister of education, visited the Dr. B. R. Ambedkar School of Specialised Excellence in Mehram Nagar on Tuesday and promised to transform it into the most modern institution with world-class facilities.
Sisodia stated that the AAP-led Delhi government is dedicated to giving children attending public schools world-class amenities."The students graduating from such a distinctive school will bring honors to India from all over the world," he added, The Indian Express reported.
Futuristic Amenities For School
The government school will have 55 classrooms, an auditorium with seating capacity of 750 people, an amphitheater with seating for 1,000 people, eight modern labs, squash courts, areas for both indoor and outdoor sporting events, and a semi-Olympic size swimming pool.
Moreover, to counter the unbearable heat of summer, a radiant cooling system will be installed to keep the temperature in the classrooms 8 to 10 degrees Celsius lower than the temperature outside.
According to Sisodia, the new structure was created with the kids' overall growth in mind. "This school building will be different from typical schools, and the surroundings will aid in the kids' education", he said. He added that the top objective is to give youngsters attending government schools in Delhi access to world-class educational resources.
Benchmark In Education System
The deputy CM emphasised how Delhi's public schools had changed since 2015, when the city's new administration was elected, and CM Arvind Kejriwal made the city's education system a top priority.
The education revolution in Delhi is currently being discussed on a global scale because of the chief minister, he claimed.
According to the Delhi Government Performance report, there is a leap of improvement in educational institutions in Delhi. Infrastructure Development: Complete renovation of the school's infrastructure. Introducing creative curriculums with more importance on a mindset emphasis—Happiness, EMC, and Deshbhakti. In November 2020, A World Class Astro-Turf Hockey Ground was inaugurated at Ashok Nagar, Delhi government School.
Punjab bids goodbye to veteran leftist, teachers' rights, and trade union activist Tarlochan Singh Rana. The 91-year-old took his last breath at the Ivy Hospital in Mohali on January 31 following health-related complications. The leftist who dedicated his entire life to social activism has donated his body to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh for research purposes. His donation was his final act of activism.
Last Wish Dedicated Toward Researchers
Rana's death was announced by his son Navtej Singh, who conveyed that his father had been unwell for quite some days. He was admitted to the Mohali hospital about 12 days back, and on January 31, he succumbed to death. His body will be handed over to the PGIMER for research purposes, as per his last wish.
A native of Kishanpura village of Ropar district, Rana was associated with the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI) for the longest time. He was the president of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation (PSSF) and Government Teachers Union, Punjab, for over three decades and committed his life to the struggle for the rights of teachers, labourers, and other workers.
He started as a Junior Basic Teacher (JBT) at a government primary institution in 1951 and was eventually promoted the block primary education officer (BPEO). He carried this position honourably until his retirement in 1989. Post-retirement too, Rana continued to actively advocate for the rights of his fellow teachers and other employees.
40 Years Of Fight For Dignity Of Working Class
Rana had become the face behind Punjab's agitation of teachers, and his collaborative efforts catalysed their demands for dearness allowances and implementation of the Kothari Education Commission report. According to a report by Indian Express, the latter facilitated recommendations of a respectable salary and pay parity for teachers of all categories. Even though Rana is no more, Navtej commented that Punjab would continue to remember his lifelong struggle to implement the commission recommendations in the state.
True enough to Navtej's beliefs, Rana's contributions continue to live through literary and other creative works speaking of his legacy. One such work that does justice to his ideals is the biography 'Mulazam, adhyaapak tey jamaati sangharsh da nibhai yoddha– Sathi Tarlochan Singh Rana,' penned by Professor Lal Singh. In the book, he pays respects to over forty years of Rana's fearless and dedicated fight for workers' rights and dignity for the working class.