Published: 28th December 2021
How Odisha's Mo School programme is looking to change the face of every single govt school in the state
Susmita Bagchi, Chairperson, Mo School Abhiyan shares how the team navigated the pandemic and what goals they have set for themselves
Having impacted 34,000 schools already, the Government of Odisha's Mo School Abhiyan has set an ambitious target for itself — reaching a total of 50k schools by the end of this financial year and by the end of December 2022, they hope to have reached out to all the government and government-aided schools in the state. Functioning on the strength of connecting alumni to their schools for developing the latter, this programme was launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on November 14, 2017, Children’s Day, and is going strong. "To cover 50,000 government and aided schools of the state by 2022, Mo School is going to start an intensive mobilisation campaign. It will be held from January 26, 2022 to January 31, 2022 by following COVID protocols. The scheduled alumni connect programme will take place in all 56,000 plus elementary and secondary schools. District specific plans have been developed by the office of Mo School," shares Susmita Bagchi, Chairperson, Mo School Abhiyan.
Looking back at 2021 and rather than seeing it as another year riddled with pandemic woes, the chairperson looks at it as a year that gave alumni ample time to connect with their schools via virtual engagements. NGOs like UNICEF, Pratham, Agastya International Foundation and many others have joined them along the way too, doing their bit for the cause. All in all, it has been a good year as Mo School continued to establish connections with alumni groups, teaching community and school management committee members as well. Another three lakh alumni joined their already existing network of three lakh and totally, they contributed about Rs 100 crore this year alone. In the same way, 15,000 new elementary and high schools were added to the existing 18,000 schools. "A well-developed plan has been prepared to reach out to the alumni from each batch and schools along with this, the district officials have been instructed to extend their support to achieve this massive goal," she shares. To date, the numbers stand as thus: Over six lakh alumni members engaged with 33,000 schools covering 30 districts of Odisha and they have contributed 150 crore.
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Another programme that has been a particular hit is the School Adoption programme. It was the CM who had appealed to citizens on January 25, 2021, encouraging them to adopt government or government-aided schools to rebuild the school's physical, intellectual infrastructure. Thus, over 1,386 schools have been adopted by 1,135 individuals including ministers, judges, lawmakers, top bureaucrats, administrative officers, Odisha Education Service officers, eminent personalities and corporate heads and still, there are many others who are patiently waiting to do their bit. "So far, five rounds of virtual meetings have been organised by Mo School with the concerned mentors, alumni members and headmasters of the adopted schools. The main objective of the meeting was to create blueprints for the all-round development of the schools and work towards fulfilling that," the chairperson informs.
Success is sweet
The two success stories that particularly delight Susmita Bagchi is that of Onslow Govt High School in Chhatrapur, Ganjam whose students have blossomed as the result of introducing smart classrooms, interactive smartboards and other hi-tech gadgets. Student strength and their participation in class are looking up. Then there is Government UG High School in Lebidi, situated in a tribal-dominated area in Sohela block of Bargarh. "The school has posted above 90 per cent academic result. With the financial contribution and matching grant, many projects have been taken up and completed. What separates this school from others is its efforts and success in incorporating technology in the learning and teaching experience," she says.
Apart from their goal of reaching out to 50,000 schools in total, the chairperson hopes that they are able to connect alumni and local volunteers with the cause of promotion education of early grade children in community spaces. Because from all the things that it has affected, COVID-19 has dented the reading habits of early grade and elementary school children the most. So Mo School hopes to mend this learning loss of early grade and elementary school children by by introducing community learning centres or camps that will promote learning beyond school hours. "The camps will be aimed at fostering the interest of children towards learning. This will be undertaken with the support of interested volunteers and community members in all districts and the programme will come under the purview of ‘service contribution’ of Mo School Abhiyan," she shares. And they have set another big goal for December 2022 — to reach out to all government and government-aided schools and create Alumni Interest Group in all of them. "These groups will aid in the development of a healthy school ecosystem support and will be involved in searching talents. They will also groom, mentor and coach the students," she informs.
Overall, this dream project has taken off well and they have plans of doing a lot more. "What started as a small journey towards giving back to one’s alma mater and Motherland has now become a revolution. People from across the globe have joined hands and we, at Mo School, are amazed with their involvement and passion," says the chairperson and signs off.