Patna: Akhileshwar Pathak — headmaster of middle school at Chainpura village of Saran district here — received the National Teachers’ Award on Saturday for his efforts to prevent girls from dropping out of school.
Pathak built toilets for girls in the school to improve their attendance besides doing other developmental work.
The teacher joined Chainpura village’s upgraded high school in 2017. After a couple of years, he joined government middle school in the same panchayat after being promoted.
“When I joined the school two years ago, I was shocked to know that there is no toilet in the school. After querying about how students especially adolescent girls manage to attend nature’s call, people said that they go behind trees making a cover using their ‘duppattas’,” Pathak was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
The 55-year-old teacher, a father of two daughters and two sons, then appealed to the local people for help.
“I appealed locals to contribute to school’s infrastructure. People voluntarily contributed land and a cash of Rs 98,176 in two days. My teachers and I contributed the amount of falling short for constructing amenities.”
Four washrooms — two each for boys and girls — were constructed within a fortnight besides other additions like drinking water facility using the funds raised.
Pathak is constantly working for the betterment of conditions for the girls to get education.
“I identified several unprivileged girls who skipped school one or two days after taking admission while several others of their age group never entered any school. After looking into the matter, I found that these girls belong to the poverty-stricken family and they were engaged in cattle grazing, wood picking, and similar activities to support their family earn a two-square meal,” Pathak said.
“I visited their home and counselled their families for sending them to school. As I was running Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya since 2016, I convinced them to accommodate their daughters and avail hostel facility along with numerous schemes launched by the government for encouraging girls’ education,” he added.