Raipur, 20 September (Sachin Sharma, Assistant Public Relations Officer) : Education, besides healthcare and economic growth, is an important parameter of evaluating a nation’s development. If a nation invests in education, it gets tremendous returns in multiple ways. And Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel has made such a humongous investment in form of Swami Atmanand Excellent English Medium School that many upcoming generations will reap the benefits of this investment.

The world is rapidly turning into a global village, and only those who can match the speed of this progress and evolution can succeed. It has been observed that even the most talented of the children often miss out on the opportunities because they can not communicate in English language. Every parent wants their child to have a quality education in a good English medium school but not everyone can afford the hefty amount of fees in private schools.

Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel took this problem into account and created a solution in form of Swami Atmanand English Medium School Scheme. Schools, opened under this scheme, not only offer a quality English medium education but also focus on an all-round holistic development of children. Through this scheme, quality education and infrastructure has been made available in rural and forest areas of the state, and not just capital city Raipur. Swami Atmanand Schools have been equipped with well-furnished libraries, sports ground, practical lab and various other amenities to help children make the most of their potential. To deepen the connection of young generation with Hindi language and the native culture, Chief Minister has decided to open Hindi medium Atmanand schools as well. Moreover, local dialects have also been included in the curriculum, so that the children may take pride in their culture, traditions and identity.

First Swami Atmanand School was opened in state on July 3, 2020. In the same year, 52 schools were opened in different cities. However, back then, the number of students taking admission here was less. Yet the number of applications received in the first year was more than 20 thousand. Gradually, these schools gained popularity and the number of applications increased dramatically. In the year 2022-23, more than two lakh 76 thousand applications have been received. Considering the huge influx of applications and growing popularity of the schools, State Government has decided to open more Atmanand schools in various parts of the state. At present, there are 279 schools operating in Chhattisgarh, out of which 247 are English medium and 32 are Hindi medium schools. Chhattisgarh Government has planned to open 439 Hindi medium Swami Atmanand Schools in the coming academic session.

Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel’s vision behind this scheme is to establish educational institutions in Chhattisgarh that have excellent facilities at par with private schools, but are accessible and affordable for the parents of economically weaker section of society as well. In the same sequence, old government schools were identified to give this scheme a concrete shape. First of all, infrastructure was strengthened in these schools, buildings were renovated, classrooms were given a new look, old black boards, green boards were replaced with smart boards. The old bench-table was replaced with new comfort batch-desks. New practical labs were built and equipped with modern science equipments.

The most important requirement in a school is teacher. Hence, to meet this requirement, English medium teachers were taken on deputation from other schools. Besides, subject-expert teachers were recruited on-contract. Training programs were organized for the teachers. Smart boards were installed for interactive teaching-learning experience with audio-visual aid. This made it easier for the children to understand the subject.

In BP Pujari School of capital city Raipur, where the number of students in the past was only around 100, now it has increased to more than 1000. Talking about Atmanand English School Tarbahar in Bilaspur district, the number of students in the then school was about 124, but after being converted into Atmanand School, more than 800 students have enrolled here. As the applications started pouring in, the school management had to resort to lottery system for selection and admission. The registered number of students in the year 2021-22, which was one lakh 41 thousand 745 earlier, has now increased to 2 lakh 31 thousand 403 in 2022-23.

Swami Atmanand School Scheme has positively transformed the education structure and infrastructure in Chhattisgarh. The students here are being provided all the opportunities of growth and development, at par with the private schools of metropolis, all for free of cost. The scheme has yielded extremely positive results. During the Bhent-Mulaqat programmes of Chief Minister, people come all the way to meet Mr. Baghel and thank him for this initiative. Demand of opening more Atmanand Schools was also received during the Bhent-Mulaqat visits. It is known that Swami Atmanand was a great personality of Chhattisgarh, who created awareness on importance of education in tribal areas. Swami ji’s teachings and messages has reached every nook and corner of Chhattisgarh today, all thanks to the efforts of Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel.

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