From “Sir” With Love!

When Harin Hattangadymaam, who has multi-disciplinary skills and a keen desire to share these with young minds, moved from Bengaluru to Shirali, he received the Blessings of Pujya Swamiji to introduce different kinds of vocational training at Srivalli High School. Within a few months of the onset of this wonderful project, almost a hundred  eager students are happily absorbing all the knowledge they are receiving   - A report by ARCHANA SAVNAL     ( August 2017 )

PARIJNANASHRAM VIDYALAYA, Karla   -   Launches a Primary Section!

The dedicated, hands-on motivator of this laudable project – SHOBHANA BIJOORpachi reports

At Srivalli High School, Shirali, a regular day begins at 9am. But, at 7:45am , an excited group of students has already gathered in the classroom on the second floor of Srivalli School. Why? That is because special classes in plumbing, electrical work and carpentry have been started for an hour before and after school. This pilot project has been conceived for students of the 8th and 9th standards and 96 students have enrolled for the course this academic year!

Spearheading this interesting and extremely useful project is Shri Harin Hattangady. His eagerness to teach is matched equally by the children’s eagerness to learn. Together they make an energetic team.

Harinmaam is a mechanical engineer who worked for 23 years as a Knowledge Delivery Manager at Schlumberger - a company providing end-to-end oil field services. The last two years of these were in the areas of human resources and management. After retirement, he was keen to share the skills he had developed with others and enrolled at Azim Premji University for an MA in Education. After his MA, he and his wife Jyoti pachi, moved from Bengaluru to their home in Shirali. Harinmaam’s wide range of experience across technical and managerial areas, along with his desire to impart education, has converged in this project at Srivalli School.

“During Rathotsava, I told Parama Pujya Swamiji about my wish to introduce these three skills to students. Even though it was such a busy time, I received His Blessings on the very same day to go ahead with it,” says a visibly moved Harinmaam.

Within two months Harimaam has his tools and his workshop ready. The inauguration day dawns and we walk into a room, well -lit, spacious and airy. On our left is a shelf fixed upon the wall with four boxes of assorted tools - one each for a group of four students. A display board for a wide range of tools such as saws, pliers, hammers, screwdrivers and other such comes next. Then comes a table pushed against the wall with equipment such as sockets, screws and drills. Several wooden boards stacked in the corner serve as movable puttering benches. The centre of the room has a large table with a good supply of clamps.

Harinmaam has also set up a projector to show his students videos that teach the basic skills in these three areas. “Exposing children to these ‘how- to videos’ opens up a new world. They realise that learning is not limited to just books and classroom teaching and that there are several ways to keep up with what the world continuously has to offer. The children are shown these videos, taught to observe the techniques and then given projects where they actually create what they have seen,” Harinmaam explains.

Harinmaam begins the class with a thorough explanation of safety regulations and workshop rules. A few posters on the walls serve as reminders through the year- ‘Wear face shield’, ‘Disinfect eye-shields after use’, ‘Close the tap after use’. ‘Use the dustbin’ is a signboard above three bins of different colours - green for biodegradable waste, yellow for non-degradable waste such as plastic, and red for hazardous waste such as chemicals. Clearly, the children are also being introduced alongside their training to issues of global concern.

The project is simple and open in its structure to accommodate new ideas based on the responses it receives from the students. “They will learn to wire sockets, assemble electric boards and to wire a room. They will also learn how to use plastic casings for wiring, as well as techniques to conceal wiring in a wall. We are planning to build a wall on the school grounds especially for this purpose. Working with wood, learning to make hinges such as the finger hinge, making small useful articles- all this is part of the learning sessions. The children will be taught plumbing too. All these three - electrical work, carpentry and plumbing are closely allied and work well when taught together.”

Harinmaam wants to integrate what the children learn in their classrooms with what he teaches. “When children are taught the basics of costing and apply it to each of their projects, they learn the practical uses of Maths and Physics.” He feels that students from the 8th and the 9th are old enough to be responsible to work with tools and to learn how to maintain them. By the time they are in the 10th, they need to concentrate on school work. His projects for the children are therefore spread over two academic years. He says that most girls tend to go to Samvit Sudha, but he and Jyoti pachi are very keen to have girls on this project as well. Six girls have enrolled this year and Harin maam hopes that more will be inspired to join the next batches.

In the coming year, Swamiji has requested Harinmaam to train a few young adults who have studied at Srivalli High School to help him conduct the classes. The goals of the project, Harin maam says, are “to kindle an interest in learning, to build vocational skills and to set the stage for other kinds of vocational training that can be introduced in Srivalli School. The children should have a sense of independence and confidence associated with having learnt a useful skill and trade. While I get the opportunity to do seva, which is very fulfilling.”

Fortified by Pujya Swamiji’s personal interest in such skills and of course, His continuous Guidance and Encourgement, Harinmaam has succeeded in bringing an enhanced learning experience to the students of Srivalli School. With Pujya Swamiji’s Blessings, doors are now open to many more professionals to come to Shirali and share their knowledge and experience with the bright children of Shirali.




Launches a Primary Section!

The dedicated, hands-on motivator of this laudable project – SHOBHANA BIJOORpachi reports

On June 15th, 2017 – just a day before the school reopened and we took a significant step forward – of starting our Primary Section comprising Standards 1 to 5 all at one go, Parama Pujya Swamiji came to the school premises to bless the ambitious venture.

While the construction of the proposed new building has been delayed a bit, four extra rooms were built during the vacation to accommodate the ever- increasing number of children getting admitted to the Pre-primary Section. Now the challenge before us was - how do we use the 9 rooms available to us for running both the Primary and Pre-primary Sections without stepping on each other’s toes? After endless discussions, we finally decided to run the school in two sessions -the Pre-primary Section from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. and the Primary Section from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Mrs. Seema Shirali has been made in-charge of the Pre-primary Section and Mrs. Lalita Amladi of the Primary Section. Initially, when we started interviewing the prospective teachers none of them matched our expectations. They either lacked the required qualifications, or the desired fluency in English. We then decided to provide transport and lunch and look for teachers from Pune and Lonavala. We also contacted the Teachers’ Training colleges in Pune and requested them to hold ‘on campus’ interviews of students. After interviewing almost 14 students, we zeroed in on 3 promising candidadtes who joined us the day after they finished their final D.Ed examination.

We had planned for two divisions each of Nursery, Junior and Senior K.G. with 25 children in each , but by the time we reopened we had 75 children for Junior K.G. distributed in three divisions of 25 each. Similarly, in both Nursery and Senior K.G. we had to accommodate 30 children in each division. Now we have 192 children in the Pre-primary Section and 58 in the Primary Section, which makes for a total of 250 (as against the 117 we had last year). We now have 14 teachers in the Pre-primary section and 7 in Primary Section.

All our teachers are young, bright and enthusiastic. I realised they were doing their jobs with both love and efficiency when one of the parents, whose child has been admitted to the fourth Standard said, “Till last year my son had to be constantly reminded to do his home- work. But ever since he has joined this school, he studies on his own and says that he enjoys going to school.” What more can we ask for?