AIMing to uplift poor: Three Bihar-born senior government officers set up Pathshala as part of social responsibility

Three Bihar-born senior government officers have set up AIM (Ambedkar Initiative for the Marginalized)-Pathshala as part of their social responsibility.
The first Pathshalas were started by Santosh Kumar
The first Pathshalas were started by Santosh Kumar

BIHAR: Three Bihar-born senior government officers have set up AIM (Ambedkar Initiative for the Marginalized)-Pathshala as part of their social responsibility. The AIMs have come up at villages in the state’s Gopalganj, Samastipur and Aurangabad districts.

Around 450 children, nearly 40 percent of them girls, are given free tuition and study material.  Mina Kumari is in the 5th standard at a Gopalganj village. “My father, a rickshaw puller, was worried about arranging tuition for me. Now, I am getting it free here,” she says.

These officers are Santosh Kumar, Vijay Kumar and Ranjan Prakash. Santosh is a 2014-batch IAS officer posted as secretary in Arunachal Pradesh Staff Selection (APSSB). Vijay is Santosh’s batch mate and is an officer in the Indian Railway Traffic Services (IRTS) posted at Gorakhpur in UP. Ranjan Prakash is the deputy commandant in CRPF in Assam.

Vijay Kumar 
Vijay Kumar 

The three started the first AIM-Pathshala in 2019. Santosh Kumar set it up at village Basantpur Ramni in Samastipur, Vijay Kumar chose Pithauri village in Gopalganj and Ranjan Prakash went to Tarari village in Aurangabad district. This was their own initiative fully funded by their money. They have hired six teachers at each AIM-Pathshala with a fixed monthly salary.

The officers contribute an amount every month for managing the salary of the hired teachers as well as meeting other expenses for the AIM-Pathshala. Before they hired the teachers, the officers would themselves teach at the AIM-Pathshala, whenever they would return to their native villages during the Chhath and other festivals.

Recently, Santosh Kumar went to each AIM-Pathshala and conducted counselling apart from taking tutorial and motivational classes to the pupils of class 1 to 8. Similarly, Vijay Kumar reaches Gopalganj from Gorakhpur to conduct classes.

“We are developing a system for online classes also. Once we are up to it, we would take online classes from places of our posting,” says IRTS officer Vijay Kumar. They are also developing libraries attached with each of the AIM-Pathshala.

Santosh Kumar says the objective is not only educating the under-privileged. “We also want them to develop their own thoughts and skills like speaking and writing.”  “The children who cannot afford paid-tuition and others, who belong to the marginalised families, are welcome in this school. Apart from tutorial classes, we also organize competitions like essay writing, elocution, quizzes and drawing and paintings,” says Vijay Kumar.

In 2019, many girls of poor families taught at the AIM Pathshala in Gopalganj and other places had passed the matriculation exam obtaining 70-80 % marks.  “We are now starting to provide guidelines to the poor students of 10-plus,” says Vijay Kumar. He and Santosh Kumar are also aligned with the National Association of Civil Servants (NACS-Bihar & Jharkhand) which provides success tips for interviews and exams to the aspirants of civil services.

Three senior government officers have joined hands and started an initiative to teach 450 children, 40 per cent of them girls, and also provide them study material for free, writes Rajesh Kumar Thakur

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