Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) formulated by UN has been a landmark move in the global history of addressing the issues of developed and developing nations. SDGs offer us a chance to unite and fight against some of the world’s biggest humanitarian and societal challenges like poverty, hunger, education, climate change, gender equality and others. SDG number 4 talks about quality education. It says that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
While the global literacy rate stands at 86.3%, the national literacy rate of India is pegged at 74%. Though scenario of primary education has improved in the nation as UN India stats highlights 100% enrolment of girls in primary education but the situation remains alarming for higher education as the enrolment rate is as low as 24.5%. Today, thousands of individuals and organizations are working towards making these SDG targets implement at the grassroots. One such inspiring story comes from the small town of Nasrullaganj in Madhya Pradesh.
With a population of 26,796, Nasrullaganj is a nagar panchayat under the Sehore district. This small town is just 90 Kms away from the capital city of Bhopal. The most striking feature of this town is it’s literacy rate, which is 83%, higher than the state average of 70%. Veenanchal Academy, a MP board affiliated school is one of the key organization helping in providing quality education to the girls of the town.
(Members of Bal cabinet of Veenanchal Academy, Nasrullaganj)
With 500 girls currently enrolled with the school, the academy has become a leading example in the town for providing quality education and all-round development of school students. Started in 2015 the academy has initiated a number of student-centric initiatives that are helping in comprehensive learning of girls. One of the most amazing concepts is that of a “Bal Cabinet”. The school administration launched an interesting initiative in which the girls were asked to contest for various administrative posts like Sports Minister, Cultural Minister, Cleanliness Minister and others. This ensured a healthy competition among the students. The Bal Cabinet has a fair say in the daily affairs of school like drinking water, cleanliness, maintenance of playground and toilets.
Not only this, the girls have been actively engaging with the Nagar Parishad of Nasrullaganj. The girls have carried special Information, Education and Communication (IEC) drives aimed at sensitizing the locals on different issues like sanitation and hygiene, child marriage, domestic violence, environment and others. The girls were also awarded by Nagar Parishad on Republic Day last year for their efforts.
(School students with former CM of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan)
The school has emerged as a pioneer institution in inculcating strong sportsmanship, leadership and feeling of teamwork amongst the students. The academy is making a mark at state and district level through various sporting events. Veenanchal Academy was awarded as Runner’s Up at Chief Minister’s Cup. The school won the Annual Martial Arts Cup organized by the Martial Arts Authority of Madhya Pradesh. Some students have qualified as state-level kabaddi players and gold medalists in karate championship, while some are performing and emerging as division level winners in wrestling and football.
Ravi, who has been involved in the managerial affairs of the school has set a list of targets and roadmap that he wants to achieve for the school in the coming new year, 2019. He has been trying to provide a national level exposure to the girls and focus on their all-round development. He has been teaching the school children about SDGs since the beginning as he believes that these students will play a major role in the execution of SDGs at the local level. Ravi has also been working to establish a mechanism through which the school can reach out to the families of these girls and sensitize them on various societal issues.
With Inputs from: Robin Koshy, Managing Editor, The Analysis
(This story is a part of our #SDGDiaries Campaign, which tries to highlight the efforts of local communities working towards the SDGs. If you feel that you are also the one championing for SDGs in your region or community, please write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org)