Sishu Vikash Vidya Mandir toeing man-making ideals: Praharaj

By Pradeep Kumar

BALASORE, June 01: Education from Gurukul that had produced unparallel disciples on the earth, like greatest archer Arjuna, has undergone sea changes regrettably to be commercialized due to cut throat competitions.

Besides Govt educational institutions, which are no more accountable, many NGOs and private institutions sprang up across India. While almost all private institutions target only so called ‘Good results’ for their growth, there are still NGO-run schools, like Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalayas and Rama Krishna Mission Schools, which pursues Swami Vivekananda’s philosophy “Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man” to impart quality education.

Baleswara or Balasore, stated to be capital of Demon King Baneswar, is believed to have got its name from Persian word “Bala-e-shore” (the City in the sea) while historical evidence found, depicts the name is based on the name of Lord Baneswar (other form of Lord Shiva).

It was part of ancient Kalinga kingdom which later became a territory of Utkala, annexed by the Mughal Empire in 1568, the British East India Company set up its factory here in 1633, came under the rulings of Danish King Tranquebar in 1763 and became a separate district of Utkala in 1828.

The history goes on but this city boasts of giving birth to great soul Fakir Mohan Senapati, father of modern Odiya language. He was born 180 years ago in 1843, studied in Barabati School to give Odiya a distinct identity in India, but that spirit has also been lost.

Private schools have mushroomed in every nook and corner of this city, but one Puri Saraswati Awasik Sishu Vikash Vidya Mandir, a middle school, set up by Indian Education and Research Organisation following Indian culture and traditions at Chandmari Padia, Sahadeb Khunta in 2019 by social reformers Ashok Puri, Jitendra Kumar Praharaj, Chandan Kumar Giri & Hemanata Mohanty, has been making a difference as a man-making institution.

“The present attitude of parents to make their children ‘money-making machines’ without human values prompted us to conceive the idea of this school, Though following CBSE syllabus and teaching is in Oriya medium, but English, Hindi, Sanskrit and computer are taught to the students. Of total 120 students, 90 are day scholars while both school and hostel are running in two double-storied rented buildings with 14 female qualified & trained teachers. The Covid-19 pandemic gave a severe jolt, but our basic aim is to make the children good human beings first,” said Praharaj during an exclusive interview.

“Fees for residential and day scholars are very reasonable as we don’t intend to run another school for sake of it while devoting our energy with commitment,” he said with conviction, adding the students address teachers as guruji and guruma.

Hailing from remote Putina village in Bhograi tehsil, 64-km from this district HQs, young Sushmita Jena, MA and DElEd, a teacher since 2019, believes that teaching is the best profession as primary school lays the foundation of life and helps to teach children moral responsibility towards their parents.

“Parents should develop a proper chemistry with their children to know their plus and minus aspects of life to help them overcome,” she said passionately, adding “The greater responsibility of proper growth of children lies with the parents. Thus, it is believed that ‘parents are the first teachers and teachers are the second parents’”.

“I wish to continue my higher studies and climb the ladder of teaching profession,” she added.

After the interview, when I inspected class rooms, few students of a class relaxing after studies came forward to pay their respect without knowing who is the visitor! This proved that they are taught much beyond the syllabus and various extra-curricular activities too.

The borders daily waked up at 4 am to compete their morning ablutions and walk down to the school with gurumas at 6 am. After assembly, a conch is blown before the prayer followed by morning class when the day-scholars also pitch in. It ends at 10.30 am for them return to the hostel.  This is the routine now due to vacation or else, the school timing is between 10.30 am to 4.30 pm, Jena added.

The commitment of the management and teachers gives clear indication that the institution has undoubtedly been serving as a silver lining over the dark cloud of present education scenario of the state.

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