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Amarpurkashi Project in India: Krishi-Audyogik Inter college

massed groups of students at morning assembly

over 800 students are enrolled at the inter college

girls studying in an intercollege classroom

over 40% of the students are girls

schoolboys at the intercollege

schoolboys at the intercollege

The Krishi-Audyogik Inter college - a secondary school in rural India

The Inter college began in 1971 as a junior high school (for 10 to 13 year olds) with two modest classrooms. In 1980 it was recognised by the government, in 1995 granted high school status and in 1999, given recognition as an inter college (this is the Indian name for a school teaching 10 to 17 year olds). It now has over 800 students on roll, over 40% of them girls. What a contrast to its early days when there was just one girl in the school. Hers, however, was a great success story. Unable to marry because of curvature of the spine caused by chronic tuberculosis, she became a teacher in the primary school and eventually headmistress.

The state government now provides scholarships to all pupils from the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backwards castes. The poorest students from higher or general castes also receive scholarships although unfortunately these students do not receive them until the end of the academic year which means that some of them are still unable to attend secondary school.

This inter college has built up a solid reputation over the years, especially for never allowing cheating in any examination and never accepting bribes. This is no small achievement. At first, parents withdrew their children when they realised that they could neither bribe nor cheat their way to success. However, as the results began to speak for themselves, local villagers understood that there were other, better ways to pass exams. They saw that the teachers attended regularly and taught their classes properly.

Since 2004, the inter college has also offered Maths and Science in the sixth form. This is a big attraction for local students who normally have to go to the towns for advanced science courses.

State education in India is still very much focused on rote-learning and students rarely do any practical work, even in Science. In 1987, the project decided to introduce an annual Science Fair with the emphasis on practical work that would be both enjoyable and useful. Since then, the Science Fair has grown steadily and is now a big annual event, attracting hundreds of villagers and busloads of staff and students from schools in the nearby towns. Volunteers are often at Amarpurkashi at the time of this event - usually the end of October or beginning of November - and they make valuable contributions:

  • Teaching simple poems or songs in English
  • Preparing posters and leaflets
  • Suggesting ideas for the demonstration of various aspects of science
  • Helping set up the stalls and welcoming guests

Jafar Pur school

The project has also helped another village, Jafar Pur, to start its own school.

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