Pathshala: A Campaign from Free Tuitions for Poor to Three Free English Schools-Dev Kumar Verma

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31 DEC 2018 : Dev Kumar Verma took “a road less travelled and that has made a difference” for the children of Dhanbad district of Jharkhand. He started with free tuitions for the children of Dhanbad in his ancestral house there now he runs three free English medium schools for them. Apart from academics, he teaches them to be honest citizens through his “honesty shop”.

Dev Kumar Verma, 32-year-old, BCCL employee, who works as an Assistant Manager (Sales and Marketing). One day, while on his election duty in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district, in a school which at that time was serving as a make-shift polling booth, Dev found a leave letter inside a class bench. The letter had many spelling and grammatical mistakes. Dev was shocked as the teacher didn’t even bother to make the necessary corrections and approved it. Dev was deeply troubled by it. He reported the matter to the CM, but no steps were taken by the government to address the issue.

This is when he and his wife, Priyanka Verma, decided to do something on their own. He started tuition for kids at his 50 years old ancestral home which soon became a full-fledged functional English medium school named Pathshala, for children up to class 5. For him, it was very important as he too came from an impoverished background. He saw his father struggling as a labourer for them to be educated. He did not want those children and their parents go through the same struggle that he and his family faced. He contributes 40% of his salary to this school.

Like other English schools, this school follows regular English school curriculum with that they even make students participate in competitions like arts & crafts, science competitions, elocution etc. But has one difference-Pathshala also teaches the kids to be responsible and honest citizens.

To instil honesty in kids, Dev provides essential stationery at 20% of the original price in the stationary shop. They have even named the store ‘Honesty shop’. Kids can pick up the required stationary and pay the money into the cash box by themselves. Kids initially cheated but soon they transformed, as they were taught about honesty in their classrooms and thus realized their mistake. Now every student puts the exact amount in the cash box.
Dev also provides for auto-rickshaw for some kids who live in far-off areas. Transportation and distance being the major reason for their dropouts in that area. He has set-up these schools in such an area where there are coal mines and children are deprived of education.