By A Mirsab, TwoCircles.net,
Central government is spending crores of rupees to eradicate illiteracy through scores of schemes such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (The Education for All Movement) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (National Mission for Secondary Education). But still there are many in the country that is deprived of such schemes due to various reasons.
To find such pupils is a cumbersome task and is more tedious when no one is paid to do that. But despite of this there is a high school teacher who searches for such kind of pupils who are disadvantaged of these schemes and provides them fund through his own pocket in order them to continue their schooling.
Mirza Aejaz Baig, 46, a teacher of Zilla Parishad High School (Urdu medium) from Beed district of Maharashtra is an educator of exceptional zeal and enthusiasm that urged him to recently take up educational responsibilities of 40 students from Beed city.
Baig is teaching in government school since last 27 years and after closely studying the reasons behind leaving of schooling by pupils he has found that poor financial condition of their parents is restricting them from study, no matter how much less money is required for them to pursue education.
Therefore starting this year he initiated a project to search poor pupils who left schooling after their standard VII or VIII and provides all items required to them to complete their matriculation.
“It’s not my first time that I have started to help poor in completing their education and earlier I used to help few students on a smaller scale but this time I have decided to adopt 40 students and take up their responsibility of two years in completing their matriculation”, Baig told on his adoption of 40 pupils.
He joined in 1988 as a Primary teacher in Zilla Parishad School and now he is teaching to high school classes. He was on deputation for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan between 2005 to 2011 as Assistant program officer for Beed district.
He also served as District Manager between August 2011 to September 2012 under Maulana Azad Corporation for three districts – Parbhani, Beed and Hingoli.
Talking about the instigation he received for such project, he says,” While in Maulana Azad Corporation I used to visit different areas and that is when I minutely observed the conditions of poor and how their priorities switches from education to immediate earning for daily bread and butter”
In summer when all government teachers were vacationing, Baig had decided to carry a survey in four different areas of Beed and identified 40 pupils who were willing to continue their schooling but their poor financial condition at home was forcing them to leave behind their educational aspirations.
“I did not only talk with young pupils but also asked teenagers whether they want to continue schooling if they are provided with all required items and facilities. Fortunately, I could identify and convince 35 girls and 5 boys”, he says with a smiling face.
He says there are some teenagers who have decided to attend school in the morning and to work at shops and hotels in the afternoon to earn and support their families.
Baig admitted all in the same school where he teaches. He will now provide to these 40 students all the basic necessities – uniform, books, notebooks, compass, school bag, practical books, lunch box, pencils, pens and Shoes.
When asked how he could admit and teach 5 boys in a high school of girls, he replied, ”True, this is a girls’ school but when I found that 5 boys are willing to pursue their schooling and fit in my criteria then I requested district education officer to allow their admission and the officer happily agreed”.
His quest did not stop him there but he is also in a process of acquiring a building on rent where he could start sewing classes for girls after their school and another computer lab where he could impart computer knowledge to them.
“I am a teacher and have financial restrictions due to family so I cannot spend all of my salary into this work. But I am trying to reach out to other people to support me in my struggle and to at least provide me a building where I can engage sewing and computer classes after school”, he explains.
Despite of family obligations Baig desires to adopt deserving pupils every year for completion of their schooling till his retirement in 2027.
Baig has two sons; Aseem is studying in final year of Mechanical Engineering at Aurangabad whereas Zeeshan is preparing for Pre Medical Test to become a doctor.
One should continue his work than spending energy in finding help from people, he believes and says,” That diverts the focus from cause and once cause is lost then there is no meaning of number of people you have as a supporter”.
This is indeed a great spending in terms of time and money by a government teacher who are otherwise found mostly to be happy with their own life and enjoy summer vacation with full pay!