When an administrator doubled up as a teacher

You don’t often hear anecdotes of a district collector venturing into areas beyond his official rigmarole. These days, the district bosses are saddled with excruciatingly tiring work load. Overseeing a plethora of schemes and ensuring their successful implementation eats away most of their time.

What happens when a district collector jettisons his official work for a moment and takes to teaching school kids? The Mahendragiri Municipal High School in economically impaired Gajapati district witnessed such a rare gesture. Anupam Saha, the Gajapati collector, stepped into the school premises without notice. His gesture astonished all but the outcome was enriching and mutually rewarding. The collector reached out to the students to teach them a lesson or two in geography. And, he was overwhelmed by the response of his pupils. “What I found after teaching them was that the educational standard is not bad. The students here are quite sharp and receptive. They responded enthusiastically to my lessons. Also, they were swift in completing the tasks that I assigned”, Saha gushed after his classroom experience. His was an exalting experience on sparing 30 minutes to teach ninth grade students.

The collector went on to expound that his visit to the school was part of the “Mo School Abhiyaan’’ launched by the Odisha government. “Anybody can wilfully be a part of this programme. Self motivated individuals can volunteer to give lessons to students. It’s a win-win situation for all”, he said.

The collector’s rare step was much to the dismay of the school authorities. They never expected the highest ranked district official to take to teaching. But, Saha had already barged into the classroom before anyone could notice or peep. His lecture to the students focused on the larger perspectives of national geography- the territorial boundaries between nations and all.

His teaching did not even have a semblance of boredom. With his intuitive style, Saha enlivened the discussion, make it interactive. In fact, he went beyond academic learning and imparted valuable life lessons to his recipient audience. One of the students could not resist saying how facile and lucid Saha’s teaching was.

Overall, the collector was mighty pleased with the state of learning and extracurricular activities at the school. He exhorted the teaching staff to keep up the highest standards of teaching. Then, he detailed on the enormous advantages of the “Mo School Abhiyaan’’ and how the scheme promised to be game changer in education. With its broad canvas, the scheme facilitates learning of young minds by experts drawn from varying domains. Imbued with their techniques and skills, the students could tackle not just academic examinations but life’s challenges too. The scheme’s overarching focus is to make it learning oriented, a welcome departure from the examination obsessed education system.

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