Innovative Educator

An initiative by a primary school teacher in Satasan village on Gujarat-Rajasthan border not only improved enrolment, but also changed the social perception towards dalits. In 2005, Ketan Vyas found that difference of dialects of teachers and students in this school in Banaskantha district was a major hurdle in taking the education process forward. He undertook the tedious task of writing a glossary of the local terms and this turned around the entire scenario.
"The teachers started using these local words while teaching. The children were asked to conduct morning prayers and narrate stories in their dialect which the teachers picked up. We saw that the idea was working," said Vyas, who was recently awarded as an innovative teacher by Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), Gujarat Innovative Education Council (GIEC) and Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT).
Once the villagers realized that their wards were getting quality education, they came forward to demolish the social barrier of caste by offering their houses for rent to Dalit teachers. Previously, the Dalit teachers had to either live in Dalit areas or nearby towns. "As the education standard improved, villagers started taking interest in the development of the school and their perception towards caste changed. In 2010, I was called by them and offered a house in the upper-caste locality on rent," said Hasmukh Parmar, a Dalit teacher. Going a step further, the villagers offered temple land for expansion of the school campus. Vyas' initiative resulted into an increase in enrolment in the school which went up from 250 in 2005 to 537 at present. The school also got 'A' grade' in the annual 'Gunothsav', a quality assessment drive for primary schools. The initiative is now being replicated in other schools. "As a teacher and Cluster Resource Centre coordinator, Vyas has played a role of a social transformer. His work is remarkable," 


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