I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to write this column for ‘Muktibarta’, a mouthpiece of Mukti organization published bi-monthly. The multifaceted activities of Mukti in the fields of Education, Health, Agriculture, Women Empowerment, Environment and Disaster management have become widespread, benefiting thousands of people. Among them, Education is the most important vertical that Mukti has always stressed.
After a few decades of tour with Education in the government sector, as a teacher, teacher educator as administrator, I came in contact with Sri Shankar Halder, the founder and President of this amazing organization MUKTI. It is a fact that due to poor Educational conditions in Government Schools, where the majority of the common people send their children, in our state, the marginalized people are being deprived of proper educational support, producing generations of under-educated human resources for future India. The situation is alarming. The teaching community, in spite of their best intentions, has nothing to do but compromise helplessly with the situation. The efforts of Mr. Sankar Halder resulted in the establishment of several Mukti Support schools (MSS) to irradicate illiteracy and to support quality education up to the Madhyamik level.
Mukti kindles the flame of a desire, the desire to be educated and self-reliant. Not only does Mukti kindle the flame, but also nurtures it with the support of several dedicated individuals, playing pivotal roles in all Education-related verticals to function in the desired manner. The whole activities of Mukti, an orchestra working in synchrony with all partners or‘Muktisaathi’ resonate with the shared dream.
I joined Mukti’s education team and am privileged to be a part of MSS. It has been a great experience working here in the educational wing of Mukti.
The vision of Mukti on the holistic development of children has two distinct parts. On one hand, there are teaching-learning of textbook matter, completing the syllabus on time, taking terminal examinations and publishing results. On the other hand, there are objectives of building a strong body and mind, generating social and environmental awareness, and inculcating values are given equal importance. Accordingly, besides classroom teaching, Mukti is concerned with the physical well-being and character building of the children as well as integrating Yoga, Value Education, modern pedagogy of teaching using technology and sustainable Biodiversity connecting Environment pertaining to local issues under a unified umbrella of education. Mukti has a consistent program for enhancing excellence in the teaching-learning process, and teacher empowerment through teachers’ training programs.
Teachers are being trained by internationally acclaimed groups in English, a subject of the general weakness of students. In the coming days, teachers’ training in Mathematics will also start.
Another remarkable feature of the Educational group is creating a digital repository of teaching-learning material prepared for the students and the teachers. This is excellent work for bridging the digital divide and making them technologically.
One project on sustainability in surrounding Biodiversity, piloting in a cluster of schools centered in Purbasridharpur inside the Sundarban area deserves special mention.
A few from our education team and a senior scientist went there on a sultry day, however, the morning ride through the greenery of the village was enjoyable. When we arrived at, charmingly picturesque Purbasridharpur, the villagers greeted us so warmly as if we were old acquaintances, their hospitality alleviated all the weariness of traveling. Everything there claims to be an excellent modern presentation that works so well. It was clear that someone has developed a system bonded with love, empathy, understanding and mutual regard and people are accountable to whatever Shankar Halder had done to transform their lives. We saw the wonderful architecture of the disaster-resilient houses built for the sake of the worst-affected dwellers of the state. Acres of land cultivating Dragon fruit for retention of moisture in the soil reveal how deep can be one’s concern. Everywhere we went, we saw enthusiasm be it an old village woman planting mangroves, a vetiver earning livelihood for her family, or a housewife in camp for realizing her rights. Mr. Shankar Halder, the President of Mukti, is practically a son of the soil, to the villagers. We could feel a profound reverence mixed with love in their voice when the villagers spoke of him. I believe, the integration of all these manifold activities by converging dedicated efforts of all members of Mukti would lead to the desired development of these remote villages.