Udaipur : When one speaks about a government school, the pictures that comes to mind immediately are that of shabby students, dingy classrooms and dirty walls. But the students and conditions, both at the Government Upper Primary Sanskrit School at Rampura, some 12 kilometers from Udaipur city stand out as exceptions to the pre-set notions.
Thanks to the relentless efforts of the Headmistress Sheela Sharma, this is perhaps the only school in Rajasthan to devote a period exclusively for ‘Swachhta’. There is a ‘Baal Sansad’ here to act like a Parliament. Students have been sworn as Jal Mantri, Paryawaran Mantri, Safai Mantri who are responsible for maintaining sanitation in and around the school premises. The total strength of the school is 110 and three teachers whose dedication has transformed an ordinary school into a model one, thus inspiring hundreds of others to follow the pattern. All this began in 2004 when Sheela Sharma joined here as a teacher. “ Ninety percent of the students came from poor tribal families and cleanliness was a subject of least concern for their parents.
But I was determined to change their unclean living habits and therefore made it a compulsory rule for the students to take a bath first at the handpump and then only they were allowed to enter the classroom” Sheela told Udaipur Kiran. The teacher arranged soap, oil, towels and comb for the students and herself bathed them to inculcate among them the urge for tidiness. “ It has been 12 years now and my students come before time to school everyday. They take a bath, help their siblings to do the same and then go to their respective classes” Sheela said. The students are also encouraged to keep the school premises clean by undertaking drawing, painting and gardening tasks to create a clean environment around.
The Head Mistress spends money from her salary to arrange resources like paint, brushes, buckets, plants etc. There is a ‘Swachhta’ period now everyday and each class get a turn every week to contribute. “ This is the period every class wait for as the students have fun time playing in the mud, planting and watering the little garden we have developed. We have accumulated 70 flower pots with the help of nature lovers who were asked to donate them for the school” Sheela says. Children are encouraged to make wall rangolis this giving the building a fresh look. Flowers of various kinds spread their fragrance and beauty to the area and children take pride in the nursery they have raised with much love and enthusiasm.