A Teacher Can Change The World


By Arunima Chitale Pophali

Ms. Aruna Chauhan, a football player at junior level was awarded trophy for best player, at Sweden in 2019. Aruna belongs to the group of star players, who were selected to play at International level from last five years. Her school is not just a fertile ground for players, but for academically bright students too. In 2012, 2016 and 2019, students from this school won prizes in Science and Math fairs, organized by government of Gujarat. The surprising part is all these kids do not belong to an expensive private school but from Thaltej Primary School, a government school in Ahemadabad, Gujarat and the architect of these amazing achievements is a multi-talented man Shri Mahesh bhai Thakkar. Winner of best teacher award from Gujarat government, and a proud Swayamsewak. Mahesh bhai joined this school in 2006. He instilled values like nationalism and patriotism, apart from being a good citizen from the beginning which are core R.S.S. values.

Earthen fridge model was another achievement of Mahesh bhai’s students, which was exhibited as a model in 2003 Gujarat Energy Fair. Students of Bopal government school were awarded for this model from Shri Narendra Modi who was Gujarat’s Chief Minister at that time.

Mahesh Bhai not only taught children at school, but inspired many financially weak parents to send their children to school, under the free schooling programme of Gujarat Government, for age group of 6-14 years. He did not just stop there but helped these people to get rid of their addictions too.

In 2000, when Mahesh bhai was posted at Datarwada village of Patan district, he did an outstanding job of creating an addiction free environment in the entire village. Sangita Prajapati, ( )a sixth grader, could not get admission into any school, on reasons of learning disabilities. Mahesh bhai, urged principal to admit her as per government’s rules, and personally paid attention to her studies. He recognized her talent in drawing, inspired her and by eighth grade, she was at par with other students. Sangita after passing tenth grade, now dreams of becoming an Art teacher.

Mahesh bhai was determined to make students excel in various fields. For that, he started Kamala Baa free education centre, with the help of scientist Shri Kanak bhai Patel, who was a former student of this government school. Prayas club ladies, upon seeing this effort were highly impressed, and agreed to teach children free of cost. Now, around 43 ladies from Prayas club not only teaches these kids, but, takes care of their needs like a mother. This center is open round the year, and helps in overall development of children. For practical knowledge, these children are taken to reputed places like Sundarban, ISRO, Science City, Serenity Botanical garden etc. and that too free of cost. Mahesh bhai says,” As a cobbler keeps an eye on shoes, teacher should also keep an eye on talent of students.” Since 2011, 15-16 students are being selected on the basis of Science projects who are allowed to perform experiments in the lab of reputed institute of Vikram Sarabhai Science centre. These kids although belong to poor families, but are at par in the lab, with financially sound students. Funds are provided to Science centre students by scientists and NGOs. Another successful experiment is when one of the students teaches the entire class and share their knowledge. Education is not only about studies but positive social changes as well, and this idea of Mahesh bhai is supported by twenty seven NGOs. In 2016, junior team of eighth graders, got support from SKF company of Sweden, and were applauded on an international level, and are now pride of Vishwa Bharati School, Thaltej. These children are competent in various fields and certainly assert bright future ahead. To attain zero dropout target, Mahesh bhai remained in touch with parents of students, learning in eighth and above grade, and made sure, that their studies do not interrupt due to financial reasons. Covid became another reason of worry especially for students of class 10th and 12th. They were in dilemma for their career options. Mahesh bhai, arranged for psychological evaluation and support system, for students so that they can understand their inclination and choose their careers. Money is required not only for higher studies, but even to prepare and appear in entrance examination. To overcome this hurdle funds were arranged and finally sixteen students got selected in competitive exams, and commenced their higher studies. A teacher’s salary may be modest, but his/her point of view, can change the world into a better place and Mahesh bhai is a paragon of such a teacher.

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Mahesh bhai says,” As a cobbler keeps an eye on shoes, teacher should also keep an eye on talent of students.” Since 2011, 15-16 students are being selected on the basis of Science projects who are allowed to perform experiments in the lab of reputed institute of Vikram Sarabhai Science centre. These kids although belong to poor families, but are at par in the lab, with financially sound students. Funds are provided to Science centre students by scientists and NGOs. Another successful experiment is when one of the students teaches the entire class and share their knowledge.

Education is not only about studies but positive social changes as well, and this idea of Mahesh bhai is supported by twenty seven NGOs. In 2016, junior team of eighth graders, got support from SKF company of Sweden, and were applauded on an international level, and are now pride of Vishwa Bharati School, Thaltej. These children are competent in various fields and certainly assert bright future ahead.

To attain zero dropout target, Mahesh bhai remained in touch with parents of students, learning in eighth and above grade, and made sure, that their studies do not interrupt due to financial reasons. Covid became another reason of worry especially for students of class 10th and 12th. They were in dilemma for their career options. Mahesh bhai, arranged for psychological evaluation and support system, for students so that they can understand their inclination and choose their careers. Money is required not only for higher studies, but even to prepare and appear in entrance examination. To overcome this hurdle funds were arranged and finally sixteen students got selected in competitive exams, and commenced their higher studies.

A teacher’s salary may be modest, but his/her point of view, can change the world into a better place and Mahesh bhai is a paragon of such a teacher.

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