Cluster Schools Shaping Up In Velhe Taluka Of Pune District For Better Education Facilities

Ananta Doiphode (extreme right) with his school friends

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Manasi Saraf Joshi

Pune, 8th May 2021: To ensure the smooth education of the children from remote areas of Velhe taluka and surrounding places, Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP) is going the extra mile by creating Cluster School. This school will help the students from over three villages to continue their education till standard VIII.

What is a cluster school?

A cluster school means re-grouping of the schools within the same geographical areas for achieving quality education (Bryan-1987). However, here in Velhe taluka, clustering of the school is done to ensure that the education of the students from remote areas or of the families who were displaced due to dam construction is not hampered.

ZP CEO Ayush Prasad said, “Velhe is a taluka in the interiors of the Western Ghats and there are several villages that are inaccessible. Several families have emigrated to industrial areas such as Ranjangaon and urban areas thereby leaving schools with very few children. It is difficult to ensure good quality education in very small schools as children do not get many opportunities for peer learning and one teacher would teach multiple subjects. To solve this problem, 6 cluster schools are proposed in Velhe Taluka by closing 35 smaller schools. Such cluster schools have shown good results in other interior regions by ensuring better learning outcomes”.

While explaining the concept, ZP member Amol Nalawade said, “Three villages Ghole, Mose and Mangaon situated on the backwaters of Panshet and Varsgaon dams have schools with one student and two teachers.

In short, there are 13 schools with 86 students. The parents of these children are working in Pune city or nearby industrial areas. They know the importance of education, but the children miss the opportunity of peer learning.”

“Panshet to Mangaon (30 km) has 13 schools and now a central school will be at Shirkoli with 86 students, similarly for Panshet to Ghol which is again 30 km area has 11 schools with 36 students while at Koshimghar have 55 students from 25 km area from Mose to Panshet”, he informed.

What is the project?

“We are trying to cluster the schools from the area and will create one school which will be situated in Shirkoli and Koshimghar. The school will have classes from standard I to VIIIth and the teachers from various schools will be appointed here”, he stated.

“The government provides Rs 300 per student for the transport. We will contribute the rest of the amount for transporting the students from their residential place to school through ZP funds”, he mentioned.

“We spoke with the villagers and they are happy with the concept. We cannot start a residential school as it has many other formalities and legalities. So from this academic year 2021-22 we will begin the cluster school”, he informed.

“We will be absorbing the surplus teachers in other schools so that the teachers will not lose their jobs”, he assured.

Such concept implemented in other areas

ZP then vice-president Vivek Walse Patil had thought of implementing it in Ambegaon taluka but it could not see the light of the day due to opposition from various quarters of the society. “MLA Sangram Thopate and Ranjeet Shivatare (ZP vice-president) have shown their support for this project in Velhe”, Naravade said.

ZP also looking for CSR funds

“I appeal to the corporate companies to come forward and support the cluster schools through corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds”, appealed ZP CEO, Ayush Prasad.