‘If normal classes are taken carefully, there is no need for extra classes’
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The school was started in 1982. This was a barren area and very sparsely populated. Hence, there was no good school nearby. The residents joined hands and requested Jnana Prabodhini director to open a school. At first, only pre-primary and primary classes were held there and it was called Nava Nagar Vidyalaya. The main aim of the school has been to develop leadership qualities in the students. The school believes in Swami Vivekananda's policy of 'man making' education for nation building. All-round development, which includes physical, mental, spiritual, intellectual and scientific development of our students, is our main aim.
Tell me about the academic performance of the school.
The academic performance of the school has always been good. For the past 30 years, we have had a pass percentage of above 95 per cent. Last year, we had a pass percentage of 98 per cent. The top scorer in Class X secured 94.5 per cent. But unlike other schools, we don't hold any special classes after school hours even for Class X students. We believe and make sure that whatever is taught in class during regular hours is extensive in that particular topic and is also understood by each and every student. If normal classes are carefully taken, there is no need for extra classes. This also gives more time to students to take part in extra-curricular activities.
Sports are given a lot of importance in your school. Can you tell us more about that?
Yes, we have regular sports periods in the daily schedule of the school. Apart from that, for students who have an interest or have extra talent in sports, we have a dedicated sports academy called Kridakul. Every day, we have allotted two hours each in the morning (7-9 am) and evening (5-7 pm) hours for students to spend in Kridakul. We have individual coaches for all sports who specialise in scientific training of the students. We also have teachers for sports medicine and psycho analysis. Our sports teachers were also sent to Olympics last time to learn the various techniques used by sportsmen all over the world and apply them here.
We have students who have represented the school in district, state and even national levels. Students from our kabaddi and kho kho teams have been selected for national and international squads. Wrestling and athletics are some other areas where we shine. All these students are also given yoga and gymnastics training. After seeing our Kridakul, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has also started a similar sports academy.
How much importance does your school give to cultural activities?
One of the best things is student camps. They go to remote areas and live there in tents. They try to understand the problems faced by villagers and then discuss various ways to solve them. These activities make them understand the actual issues on the ground so that when they grow up they know what exactly can be of help to the disadvantaged sections of society. When they live in tents, they also understand the importance of self-reliance.
Besides, there are leadership development programmes for Class VIII and IX students. We hold a 15-day camp where various types of programmes like discussions, debates, planning, team building and such activities are done. In the end, an interview is taken. As per the performance of the students, teachers appoint leaders who help them in planning various activities in the school and also help in day-to-day activities of the class.
Apart from this, our students also participate in singing, dancing, elocution, debate, essay writing, drama etc. They have won various district and state-level prizes in these events.
Does your school also impart vocational education?
Yes, we have a batch of 60 students who are into vocational education. Students can opt for it when they are in Class VIII. It is an integrated course of six trades in one. After completing this course, they are so thorough with the basics that a diploma in engineering becomes very easy to navigate for them in future, if they choose to take it up.
How important is moral education?
We give a lot of importance to moral education. We have one-hour mediation session for all students once a week. We also discuss various national and socially relevant issues with our students and hear out their opinion. Only when discussions are held can we understand the root cause of various problems. Plus, it also helps them know various views on the same subject. We make students take resolutions and support them in keeping them true till the end of the year. This boosts their self-confidence. For students of Class VIII, we also have special orientation programmes as that is the time when a lot of physical and mental changes happen in students. We conduct a series of lectures for the students to understand what is wrong and what is right. We also help them make up their mind as to what to do in future for themselves, for their families and their country. This kind of talk makes them feel responsible and help them pursue their dreams. Whenever our alumni visit us, they always say this is one programme that they loved the most in school as it helped them get a clear picture of what they wanted to do with their future early in life.
What other activities does the school undertake?
Whenever there have been natural calamities, our team has gone and helped the affected people. After Latur earthquake, we went and helped them and ultimately also started a school there. Forty acres of barren land was converted into a fruit orchard by the efforts of both teachers and students. We don't believe in just sending money. We believe in going to the spot and helping them physically. We also take our students to trips across the nation. This helps them understand how diverse the country is and also gives them an understanding of various people and their problems.
Every year, we hold a cycle rally. Last year, our students covered the distance between Ujjain and Pune in cycles. We have seven laboratories in the school. We also teach tissue culture to students in Class IX.
Every year, we admit underprivileged students with special sports talent who have passed Class IV. The entire expenditure is borne by the school and they stay in school hostels. This time, we have got such a girl student who is currently in Class X. She was the topper of Class IX and has also been selected for international kabaddi training camp.
Which one quality do you think will make your students stand apart from rest of the crowd?
As I said earlier, man-making for nation building is the school policy. Hence, our students will have great leadership and team building qualities. Our students are deeply patriotic and will always put nation before themselves.