Crowd funding has led to a huge makeover in some government schools in Maharashtra that has caused the most modern of learning tools like laptops and LCD projectors and other equipment to be installed in these buildings. Creditably, the development came not through government intervention but from funds raised from the public itself. As per the data available with the Maharashtra State Council of Education Research and Training (MSCERT), school teachers in the state managed to raise a whopping Rs 216 crore from the public in a period between July 2015 and December 2016. This money has been utilised for revamping classrooms, building new toilets and bringing in digital initiatives among others, reported The Indian Express. The data further revealed that Ahmednagar district topped the list of public participation, where people contributed over Rs 30 crore for schools. The next is Pune at Rs 19.82 crore, followed by Solapur at Rs 19.03 crore, Aurangabad at Rs 15.59 crore and Nashik at Rs 14.80 crore, according to Indian Express.
The financial assistance from the public has thrilled the teaching community. The scale of changes has been huge. Suresh Patil, headmaster of the zila parishad school said they have not only roped in technology, they have been successful in constructing a 2,000-square-foot compound wall and even revamped classrooms, all from funding from villagers that amounted to around Rs 5.5 lakh. The renovation has also increased the number of students at the school. At least 10 students have left private schools to join the government school thereby increasing the figure from 42 to 78, said Patil.
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Asked about the inspiration for these Maharashtra government schools to seek funds, Nand Kumar, principal secretary, state education department, told IE, that the Pragat Shaikshanik programme of the state government could be one of the reasons. The programme rolled out two years ago documents compulsory reporting of public participation that encouraged teachers to reach out to the community and encourage them to contribute, said Kumar. Their efforts paid off and there has been an overall improvement in the quality of education, reflected in many recent surveys. This has also motivated villagers to start investing in zila parishad schools, he added.