Ratri Pathshalas bridge education gap as schools remain shut | Ranchi News

Ranchi: Run by a non-government organisation with help from local youths in 23 villages in Ranchi, Gumla and Lohardaga districts, the initiative taken by Ratri Patshalas (night schools) to provide free and quality education to thousands of poor students has helped bridge the gap in learning ever since schools were shut in March as part of the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Ratri Patshalas were first started in 2004 at Uchri village of Mandar block in Ranchi in memory of Kartik Oraon, who founded the Akhil Bhartiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad (ABAVP).
Run between 6pm and 8pm, the main aim of Ratri Patshalas is to strengthen the students’ foundation in subjects — including, science, mathematics and English — that teachers at government schools are usually not equipped to teach properly. Students are also made aware of local languages, tradition and social issues like witch-hunting and alcoholism.
While speaking to TOI, Nutan Beg, a Class VI student from Totambi village in Ranchi district, chose to converse in English even though she is still not very fluent in the language. “My friends and I believe that attending these Ratri Patshala classes are more rewarding than going to school. The subjects are taught in an interesting way and the key points become easy to grasp,” she said.
Many teachers are college-goers who double as teachers to bring about a change in society. Seema Oraon of Uchri is an example how far these classes can take one in life. “I was a student at a Ratri Patshala and managed to score 72% in my matriculation in 2016. The initiative not only helped me understand the subjects, but also educated me on various aspects of life. I am now a teacher at a Ratri Patshala and I am passing on the moral values that the institution taught me to the next generation,” she said.
Each night school has between 50 to 200 students and the total strength in the three districts is about 3,000. ABAVP patron and state finance minister Rameshwar Oraon (state Congress president) said, “At present, Ratri Pathshalas are filling the void in education due to closure of government schools.”

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