Sujit Chattopadhyay : An Inspiration To The Teaching Community!

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India being a diverse, multi-cultural nation possesses a vast group of indigenous populations in different parts of the country. The integration of these people into the mainstream society has been worked towards by the governments through positive discrimination against Scheduled Tribes in the form of reserved seats in various different institutions. However, a major issue faced by the people of these groups is a lack of accessibility to even lower classes of education. Children often have to travel 20-30 kilometers a day just to attend school. It is for reasons such as these that makes Sujit Chattopadhyay?s school in the village of Ausgram in Burdwan, about three hours away from Kolkata a godsend to the tribal communities nearby.

Christened ?Sadai Fakirer Pathshala? (The Eternal Fakir?s School), Chattopadhyay?s unique school has been running at his Ausgram home since 2004, following his retirement as principal of Ramnagar Uccha Madhyamik Vidyalaya. He takes a mere fee of 2 Rs. Per year and his school educates 350 students, 80% of whom are girls in lower-income families. Many of the students of this school have shown impressive results by securing admissions into coveted universities. He focuses on the teaching of social sciences to secondary classes and degree-course Bengali to undergraduate students. His school is complete with register systems, attendance records and disciplinarian committees. Many can call it a family endeavor as his nephew assists him with the matters of management of the university.

Aside from this, Chattopadhyay is also an active crusader of socio-environmental awareness, and in these isolated rural interiors, he promotes the concepts of social equality and eco-friendly living. He has eased the access of children in rural and tribal areas in and around Ausgram by a significant amount by not only providing valid and competent education virtually for free, they are provided a safe environment for education close enough to their homes, being an incentive to families in these areas to send their daughters to school considering the fact that there is less concerns regarding the safety of the child traveling too far to have an education. Sujit Chattopadhyay is an inspiration to his community and the fraternity of academia and education as he reminds us all that one can never hope to place a pricetag on the value of good education.

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