For some duty is just another term for KRA’s & to others, it is the limit their conscience sets. Deputy Education Officer, Geetika Joshi Pandey, belongs to the latter category.
Tarikhet is a quaint town near Dehradun hills, where temperatures near the freezing point for most time of the year. Geetika was inspecting a primary school in Almora district, Uttarakhand, when she was shocked & grieved to find the children trembling in cold as water dripped from the damaged roof of a school building. The overall condition of the school & the classrooms were in a terrible state.
The empathy Joshi felt for the hapless lot, convinced her to mend not only the old roof but also refurbish the entire building – all at her own expense. Joshi had joined duty as the Deputy Education Officer in Almora District, Uttarakhand, in March 2015.
When asked why she went out of her way to help these children of an obscure hill-town close to Dehradun, she says that ‘education has always been of utmost importance to her & she sees these children as her own’. She adds that the poor condition of the school & its pupil grieved her to such an extent that she felt no hesitation in contributing using her salary for the repairs. Later on, she was inspired to refurbish the entire school building using whatever funds that she had saved.
She has now set out on a mission to revamp a whole lot of government-run schools in Almora district. Why should other schools in the area not get the same benefit? She questioned. Afoot on her mission, she said that she started off with encouraging other teachers to co-operate in this endeavour. And she wasn’t disappointed. The fantastic feedback collected a fund of Rs 2.5 lakh. Apart from repairing dilapidated school buildings, Joshi & her fellow teachers provided warm clothing to the children that would keep them protected from the approaching winters of the Tarikhet hills.
Joshi adds that IAS Himanshu Khurana, Joint Magistrate, Ranikhet, suggested that she should take the help of MLAs & other businesses in her effort to transform the face of government education in the Dehradun area & surrounding hillside. The plan worked wonders & Roopantaran scheme was launched to better the infrastructure & other educational facilities like the supply of uniforms, books, stationery etc. in government-run schools. A bank account was also commissioned to keep the transactions transparent, and also give convenience to people to deposit their contributions.
MLA, Ranikhet, Karan Singh Mahra, when contacted by Joshi, contributed a whopping Rs 23 lakh from his MLA Fund. Eva Ashish Srivastava, District Magistrate, also donated Rs 12 lakh to the programme. Current District Magistrate, Nitin Bhadoriya, is also on board the Roopantaran scheme. With constructive & continued effort of such people, led by Joshi, schools have not only been renovated but now flaunt smart classes.
Kamlesh Giri Goswami, the headmistress at Government Primary School, Garee, proudly compares their schools to private counterparts & points out that the former is no less. As many as 57 schools have been transformed in Ranikhet & Almora under this initiative