As the world turned online with COVID-19 pandemic led lockdowns, many students had little or no access to learning. Across rural and semi-urban Government schools, it was noted that students were dropping out and facing an incalculable loss in learning.
In this scenario, CEQUE, a non-for-profit organization that aims to improve the quality of teaching and teachers in India; worked relentlessly with the Government school teachers in 6 districts in Maharashtra, to make sure that education does not fall-off the priority list, from the lives of these school children who did not have access to study equipment and infrastructure.
Authors Chatura Rao and Rachna Bisht Rawat along with others are among those who have penned fifteen captivating stories of teachers based on this journey of CEQUE. These teachers showed perseverance and grit, all through the pandemic year and continued to teach their students, through unique methods The stories are now compiled in the form of a book, “In Crises, We Persist” in English and in Marathi as “Tikun Amhi Sankatatahi”. The book is edited by Ankita Shah, illustrated by Ananya Broker Parekh and the book design is by Soumya Jain.
CEQUE worked collaboratively with teachers enrolled in its year-long Teacher Innovator Program to find on-ground solutions to address problems. Additionally, teachers too continued to innovate. For instance, Kunda Bachhav began a mobile library of 200 books for her students in Anadavalli village in Nashik. Pramod Khandekar used the walls of the village houses to paint blackboards to teach children in open classroom formats following social distancing in Adapalli village in Gadchiroli. Rohini Dange from Kasara, initiated a night school to ensure that the children study because that was the only time they had access to their parents’ smartphones. Or Pinesh Jadhav from Musarne who reached children in remote tribal hamlets through the speakerphone of a parent’s simple mobile phone.
Vishal Solanki, IAS, Commissioner, School Education and Sports Department Government of Maharashtra, commented, “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate these teachers and teachers like them. The teachers in this book recognized their critical role in the fabric of the education system to ensure learning for all their students.”
Elaborating on the ethos of the book, Dr. Anju Saigal, Founder Director of CEQUE, voiced, “We did not set out to make heroes out of these teachers through the stories documented in this book. But in shining the spotlight on their work, we wanted to recognize their everyday acts of heroism, of courage, of caring that makes education possible in a real way for the most underprivileged children of our country.”