The schoolchildren of Sri Satya Sai Jnana Vikash School in Kujang block in Jagatsinghpur district, Odisha, now have a reason to smile. The school, which is the operational area of Essar Steel in Paradeep, has recently been provided with a school bus for the students.
The school – an educational extension wing of the Sri Satya Sai Trust, which runs 99 schools across the country and 19 schools in the state of Odisha – is the only school in Jagatsinghpur district that provides holistic education to children from two grampanchayats i.e. Bhutmundai and Pankapal.
The two school buses owned by the school, needed maintenance and repairing and have been not in use for years. Enrollment gradually dropped because transport proved to be extremely cumbersome. In keeping with its commitment to education, Essar Steel, Paradeep, donated a school bus as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility activities. The bus provides services to the children of 12 villages, namely Bhutmundai, Santara, Kujang, Jagannathpur, Kothia Sahi, Sandhapur, Taladanda, Pathuria, Agapal, Bhaguathela, Bagai and Badapal.
According to the school headmaster Mr. Dinabandhu Senapati, enrollment has increased from 195 students in 2010-2011 to 265 students in 2011-2012. He attributes the increased enrollment figures to better transportation facilities – facilitated by the donated school bus by the company.
A student, Swati (Class III), expressed her excitement saying: “We are very happy as we are now able to reach home early, thanks to the new bus donated by Essar.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Pramod Kumar Gupta, Head of Essar Steel Orissa, said that Essar Steel has already started taking initiatives in improving the quality of education in the region by making arrangements with IL F&S Education, a national-level technical support agency, to provide for classroom support programmes, viz. strengthening learning outcomes in English, science and mathematics.
Besides, Essar Steel has also planned for the constitution of a community-based school supervisory committee for ensuring better learning outcomes, providing educational equipment, support for extracurricular activities like music and sports, support for teachers’ training programmes, etc.