“Education is not a business, it is a noble profession”
opines Ch. Ranbir Singh of CR Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Rewari (Haryana)
in conversation with Varsha Verma.
Nelson Mandela rightly said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” According to Census of India’s 2011 Provisional Population Totals of Rural-Urban Distribution in the country, of the 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crore live in rural areas while 37.7 crore stay in urban areas. Hence, the importance of education in rural areas assumes significance. Ch. Ranbir Singh is one of the few people who is actively involved in promoting good quality education in rural areas.
Education facilitates learning, knowledge and skill. It completely changes our mind and helps us to compete in today’s competitive environment. In rural areas, where people are still illiterate or semi-literate, finding a good school is a challenge. But, dedicated people like Ch. Ranbir Singh are striving their best to impart good quality education to children in rural areas.
“In rural areas, children are totally dependent on schools for their studies as they do not get the opportunity to have additional resources like coachings or private tuitions. Parents trust us completely and they leave their children in our hands. So, it becomes our utmost responsibility to ensure that we give the best education to our students. Not only this, we try to be a role model for our children as well, giving them values which will help them make good citizens of tomorrow. We also feel that if a child is in a private school, he should not be requiring any additional help in the form of tuitions, etc,” shares Ch. Ranbir Singh of CR Bhartiya Vidya Mandir, Rewari (Haryana), who has 30 years of experience in education field.
Ch. Ranbir Singh did his schooling from a government school as he belonged to the family of farmers. After his matriculation, he wanted to join Hindu School in Sonepat but could not do so due to family reasons. Since then, he decided to impart good quality education to people living in rural areas.
He started his first school in 1991 in Ch. Chotu Ram haveli with the help of his three friends, with a meager sum of Rs 16000, of which each friend contributed Rs 2000 and Rs 8000 donation was sourced from outside. “Later, I started the first branch of CR Bhartiya Vidya Mandir in Jhajjar in 1993 and another one in Rewari in 2000,” he said. “My aim is to promote education in rural areas and so we have also designed our fee structure to suit the masses.”
Teachers: backbone of the school
Finding a teacher might be difficult in rural area but Ch Singh ensures that they get the best teachers for their school. “We are ready to pay them extra as we do not want to compromise on the quality of teachers as they are the backbone of a school,” he said.
Teachers training is also one of his prime concerns. “We train our teachers, conduct seminars at schools and also use services from Mylestone,” he said. Mylestone is a curriculum for schools specially designed for empowered teaching & easy learning. They offer implementable & pedagogically appropriate material for schools & students so that they can experience the “why behind every concept instead of just mugging it up?” Teachers get the well-researched lesson plans that help to expose the global skills and essentials to face the difficulties and challenges of today’s innovative world. The main goal of Mylestone is to empower the teaching and makes the learning techniques simpler.
“Teacher-student relationship is very important. Since teachers are the role models for children, we ensure that they carry themselves in a manner which is respectable at all times and their soft skills are also elegant,” he said.
“We also have a private school association, wherein we meet once a month and share our views on how to improve ourselves. Sometimes, we get valuable inputs from such meetings, which we can implement in our schools,” he added.
Another important point that Ch. Singh shared was that they try to engage parents as well. “Most of the parents are semi-literate or illiterate, so it is our responsibility to make them aware of the progress of their children. We also try to visit one village every month,” he added.
Even though the school has its principal, Ch. Singh takes active participation in all activities of the school. “There are co-ordinators who report to the principal and they are independent and fully responsible for their job. Both me and my wife are associated with the school as it is very close to our heart. It is not a business for us, it is a noble profession and we are working for the betterment of the children,” he said.
Challenges in running a school in rural areas…
The challenges faced by a private school in rural area are completely different from that of a private school in urban area. “Every step is a challenge. Here, people are mostly involved in agriculture and they are still dependent on natural factors like rain. Since it is a seasonal business, they sometimes cannot pay school fees on time. We also understand the nature of their business and so we give them sufficient time to deposit their fees. Money has never been a factor to deter any child from attending the class,” he told. Being a rural area, continous availability of electricity is also adeterrent for them. Another challenge which Ch Singh mentioned was that children do not get a study environment at home. “That’s why we try our best to keep children busy at school. We give them fewer vacations. For 10th and 12th standards, we provide additional study hours at school,” he shared.
On a concluding note…
“We believe that education is not complete without moral values and so we try to inculcate the values in our students. We also give them immense opportunities in sports activities so that they get a holistic learning environment. It is a noble deed to run a school and we are not here for business,” concludes Ch. Singh.