PATNA: Have you ever heard of a school that accepts saplings as fees from students? In Bihar’s Samastipur district, one such school named ‘Green- Pathshala’ is being run by a youth since 2008.
Thirty-three year old Rajesh Kumar Suman’s centre provides coaching for aspirants of various government services exams with the help of educated volunteers, at Rosara in Samastipur district of Bihar.
Known as tree man and the Paudhabala Guruji, Kumar charges 18 saplings as fee from each of the students.
Driven by an urge to promote plantations of trees across the state, Suman started this unique school under the Binod Smriti Study Club, set up in memory of his (late) mama (mother’s brother),who encouraged him to serve the poor by imparting education.
“The aspirants of various competitive examinations for govt jobs are given free preparatory coaching during morning and evening sessions at Green-Pathshala. Behind taking 18 saplings in fee has also a scientific logic. One person inhales as much oxygen throughout his/her life as 18 plants generate. So, we charge 18 saplings as fees, which are then planted in various places,” he said.
On Sunday, when there is no coaching, Rajesh tours across the state to encourage people to plant more saplings.
“Since 2008, more than 5,000 students have been coached for various competitive examinations at this Green-Pathshala. Recently, 13 students, including three women, cleared the Bihar police examination and have become sub-inspectors,” he said.
Close to 40% of students studying at the centre are female. Since the start, more than 90,000 saplings collected from students have been planted.