Education renaissance in Rajasthan: Happy class and more child-focused

Once a laggard in education, Rajasthan has been working to make schools less dreary and more child-focused, a path also advocated by the recent draft education policy. The results are visible, with its districts topping the last National Achievement Survey. The Indian Express recounting the success stories in Dholpur and Nagaur’s big leaps

THE nine-year-old gasps twice before she speaks, haltingly, in English, I am Rakhi. I am studying in Class 4. For those tense seconds, Rakhi stands stiff, staring at the floor, pinching the seams of her coffee brown uniform kurta.

The mountain of a task done, she tosses back her hair, breaks into a high-wattage smile and sticks out her hand: How are you? How was your day? But her teacher Kamlesh Mittal isn’t letting her off soon. Here, do some maths, she says, pushing a long notebook in her direction. 9,999 + 825 + 7,000 she says in Hindi. Dhyan se, seedhi banake (carefully, with the place values right, like a ladder)

Mittal, in charge of the primary school in Karimpur in Rajasthan’s Dholpur district, has been a teacher for 31 years. See how good they are, she says as Rakhi gets the sum right. Maths is not a problem for these children. It’s English that they struggle with. And there, we can’t help them much.

Next, it’s Arman’s turn. He walks up to Mittal’s desk, his brow knit with worry. Show me how you do this subtraction, she says, giving him a notebook with two three-digit numbers. As the boy uses his left hand to count, Mittal says, When Arman got into Class 4, he was terrible at maths. I started by giving him Class 1 maths, sometimes Class 2. Now he comes and asks, ‘Ma’am, what can I solve?’.