There is never a dull moment in Khutuluguda project school. For, education here is not just limited to classrooms and books. The headmaster of the school, Pabitra Mohan Das ensures that each day his students get to learn new concepts in an innovative way.
Located in Khutuluguda village under Borriugmma block, the school has 40 students, belonging to Gadava tribe, studying from Class I to Class V. Das joined the school in 2014 and in the last five years has brought about a transformation not only in ensuring meaningful education but also increasing student enrolment and retention levels.
He has introduced new educational implements developed from locally available materials like water, bamboo, trees, stones, sand besides, waste materials like polythene sheets, glass, plastic and waste paper. Teaching science, mathematics and history, he has created around 200 different kinds of educational materials.
Using matchsticks and pieces of bamboo, he teaches numbers and shapes and with thermocol, Das creates shapes of animals and birds for students. He also takes them to the river bank to collect pebbles through which they learn numbers.
"Learning should be associative and meaningful. Usually, children tend to rote learn but if we use secondary learning materials they grasp the concept of a subject better," he explains.
His pupils have taken to him with gusto. "I love attending his class because he uses things from nature to teach us, things which we can relate to," says 11-year-old Pramila Gadava, a student of Class V.
Das has installed his personal computer in the school to train children in IT and also uses Youtube and some educational applications for the purpose. "My main aim is to bring the education level of students of this remote village at par with students of urban areas with the available resources," says Das, who received the State Teacher Award in 2016, instituted by the Odisha Government.
In further recognition of his efforts and contribution, he is all set to receive the National Award for Teacher instituted by the Ministry of Human Resources Development on the occasion of Teachers Day on September 5.
The teacher has also authored 10 children's books and edits 'Chadaibasa', the lone educational magazine in Koraput district for school students. He has also created a small pond on the school premises and left different kinds of fishes in it for the children besides, put up 'Jiba Daya' pots in the school in which children fill up water every day for birds.
Another interesting contribution of Das to the school is 'Ramanka Dokana'. Inside this store in the school, children are free to take anything, be it study materials or stationery against any amount of money they have. Children without money can also take things from the shop.