For the last three years, students from classes I to V at Shree Hundaraibagh Wadi Area Primary School in Bag village of Kutch’s Mandvi taluka have been taught by only one teacher – 43-year-old Deepakbhia Mota.
The head teacher of the government school, which has no other teacher, Mota will be awarded the National Awards to Teachers by the President in Delhi on Teacher’s Day, September 5, for starting the ‘Shikshan Rath’ during the Covid-19 pandemic in Bag village, using solar bicycles to reach out to students in far-away areas and also for coming up with a machine containing educational files, which can be accessed by students anytime.
During the pandemic, Mota went to door-to-door to teach children who did not have access to online education. He spent Rs 1.25 lakh to convert his car into a “mobile school” to teach students from classes I to V for 17 months when schools were shut. Armed with a 42-inch television, an inverter and a laptop, the rath visited children living in farms in Bag, around 60 km from Bhuj town.
Mota told The Indian Express, “For 17 months, when schools were closed for students of classes I to V, the rath went to students’ doorstep to teach them. Not only students from the village but 314 students from other parts of Mandvi taluka were also taught for 408 hours.”
With over 18 years of teaching experience, Mota has been teaching in the village for 10 years. Majority of his students belong to families of agriculture workers, who usually migrate from tribal districts like Panchmahal.
Another initiative to his credit is the ‘Bicycle Digital Mobile School’, which he named ‘Dwichakrika Shikshan Yanam’.
“After the pandemic, we faced issue like vehicles not being able to reach children living in the farms during monsoon. We reached out to them by using solar bicycles and taught them through visual and audio means,” said Mota, who also paid for the initiative from his own pocket.
Further, Mota set up kiosks called ‘Any Time Education’ (ATE), containing audio-visual educational content. Similar to ATMs, two ATE machines have been installed at the main market and Hundaraibag Wadi area in Bag village to help students study.
“The ATEs contain 1,200 audio-visual files… these have facilites like touchscreen and other ATM-like features. With the success of the two ATEs, 20 more are being developed with support from organisations and donors,” said Mota.
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