Tushar Pawar, who currently works in the hospitality industry, owes his life and career to his teacher Rafique Saudagar. Thanks to Saudagar, Tushar, who comes from a financially weak family, could pursue his education till standard X for free.
Kajree Pardeshi, a topper throughout her school life, was unaware that her parents failed to pay the fee in time. However, Saudagar never made her realise this. Today, she has completed her BAMS and is pursuing MD in Ayurveda.
There are hundreds of such tales which echo from the dingy lanes of Janwadi slums in Gokhalenagar where Saudagar’s school Kill Bill English Medium School is situated.
Today the school has e-learning facility though 50 per cent of the students there do not pay their annual fee.
Saudagar’s father Inam was a beedi worker. “My father was very poor but he always wanted his children to be educated in English. So he sent me and one of my brothers to St Ornella’s High School in Camp. Since I was the only student studying in an English medium school from Janwadi, I started giving tuition to fund my education. It was during this stint, few parents suggested me to start a school,” said Saudagar, who started the school in one room of a chawl after completing his post graduation.
“Today I have two buildings. All the students in my school are from Janwadi and nearby slums. The parents are illiterate. They neither pay the fee nor take interest in their child’s education. Hence, the main challenge for me was to make these students turn into better individuals,” he said.
Students do not have to appear in any examination at the school, a system started long before the continuous evaluation pattern mentioned in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 (RTE) came into force.
“If the students had appeared for examinations, some of them would have failed and their education would have remained incomplete. Currently, we have over hundreds of students who pursue education in the school in two batches. We have three divisions of each class from nursery to standard X,” he said.
The students are put in the respective divisions according to their academic ability, intelligent and emotional quotient.
“The children with low IQ or EQ are in C division. These students have less syllabus. And most of the time, they are taught through activities, games and other ways,” said secondary principal Jayshree Bhalerao, who is working with the school since 16 years.
Principal of pre-primary Suraiyya Shaikh, who is associated with the school since 22 years, said, “We have seen the success of the school. From one room, today we have e-learning facility for the students. We have to teach them everything at school, since they do not get any sort of guidance from their homes.”
Students’ favourite teacher, Saudagar knows every student by their names and family backgrounds. “Technology cannot substitute a teacher. Information explosion is killing the creativity of children,” he said.