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Dedicated Teachers of Simdega District

Dedicated Teachers of Simdega District

Located in the banks of Sankh river, Simdega district is recognized for laying emphasis on awareness campaigns as a means of development. This practice is extended by a network of a self motivated government teachers, or the Dedicated Teachers. These teachers contribute simultaneously to education and other development agenda such as healthcare, elections etc. Their drive to make a change in the district is possible because they do not perceive their profession as a duty with time restrictions.

Concept of "dedicated teachers"

The concept of ‘dedicated teacher’ started under the leadership of the then Deputy Commissioner (DC), Shri Jata Shankar Chaudhry (IAS). He recognized that Simdega district was inhabited by individuals motivated to work towards the district’s development. Therefore, the Block Development Officers (BDOs) created a list of teachers who had done exceptional work in their field, which had an impact on their community. The lists from all the blocks were compiled at the district level. Afterwards, the district administration shortlisted candidates based on the quality of their achievements at the block level. Finally, the selected candidates were counselled and trained to become leaders of the society. Currently, dedicated teachers are allotted in each of the 65 school clusters at the district level. They work in coordination with the respective school heads. 

Along with education, dedicated teachers act as the medium through which the district administration is strengthening the implementation of certain central and state government schemes. They have voluntarily participated in health campaigns to generate awareness about health vaccinations, menstrual hygiene etc. They contributed in the election campaign, ‘Moy Heko Simdega - Vote Simdega Vote’ to convince the inhabitants to vote and ensure conduct of elections in a fair manner. This led to a 70% turnout of voters, a huge jump from the previous elections. Further, they assisted the Aspirational District Fellows in organising many district wide awareness campaigns such as those related to Malaria, TB, Filiaria, and Child Protection and RIghts Awareness Campaigns, etc. 

Shri Raj Kumar Rao, a Dedicated Teacher of the Simdega block, believes that their participation is necessary to create a larger impact. This is because these teachers are rooted in local ethos and have knowledge about the needs of the community. Thus they can reach a larger section of population in comparison to other external organisations. 

Motivation factors 

The exceptional component of the Dedicated Teachers initiative, apart from the drive of the teachers, is that they perform the tasks without monetary incentives. The district administration does not provide them with additional salary for the purpose of contributing in awareness campaigns. However, they are given an invaluable social standing and respect within the society. In the first place, the administration selects only a handful of candidates. This selection increases their social standing. Secondly, they are in direct touch with the DC through a whatsapp group. Thirdly, their performance is not subject to the intrusive monitoring of the district administration. Finally, the teachers are allotted to schools on the basis of their preference.

The way forward, according to Rao, is growing the network beyond the boundaries of the Simdega district. He believes that the district administration and the ADFs have the power to give a platform to the Dedicated Teachers initiative across India. This will provide both as a measure to identify individuals with the drive to contribute towards the development of the society, and give them an opportunity to unleash their creativity. 

Source : Public System Strengthening in Aspirational Districts



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