| 23 Apr 2024
Pioneering efforts of Radio Mewat yield positive results for Haryana students

MUMBAI: With a pass percentage of 57.4, Mewat ranks fifth in the state of Haryana, in the 2019 Class 10 exams, held by the Haryana Board of Secondary Education. The first community radio station of Mewat, Radio Mewat conceived a program - Radio Tuition to take quality education to students. This was in August 2017.

In 2017, the state of Haryana, in comparison to other states, performed abysmally in the same examinations conducted by the Haryana Board of Secondary Education. The performance of the children of the district of Mewat and neighbouring district Faridabad was the worst. Out of every 10 students that appeared for the exam, only three to four passed. No place epitomized it more than the government schools of Mewat, where just two out of ten students passed in many schools and in some, all failed. Angry parents protested against the school authorities, schools were stoned and the children had wasted a year.

Why do these government schools in Haryana’s small towns and villages perform so badly in board examinations? The reasons are many. The schools comprise of just four walls with non-existent educational infrastructure. There are very few teachers, toilets don’t work and there is seldom water in the taps. There is a school in Mewat in village Nowshera where there was only one teacher for over 300 students and that too only a physical education teacher. The shortage of teachers in Math, Science, and English are killing these schools and making a tragic mockery of the students and the education system. In spite of all the shortcomings, Mewat's reliance on government schools is considerable. There is a paucity of private schools where the fee is high and unaffordable for majority of the Mewati’s, whose livelihoods are dependent on agriculture and allied activities.

“We prepared tutorials on the entire syllabus in subjects like Science, English, Math, Social Studies and Environmental Science for classes 6-10 and broadcast them on different days of the week. Days were set for each subject and like in school, each class was for 35-40 minutes,” says Radio Mewat director Archana Kapoor.

As most of the parents could not afford private schools or tuitions, Radio Mewat produced programmes on the curriculum and ran classes on radio from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm for classes 6 to 10.

The pioneering effort of Radio Mewat offered free tuitions through the radio. The parents were expected only a transistor, which would cost less than Rs 500/- and get a quality education for their children studying in different classes.

Radio Schools have experimented in different parts of the world as an interactive, innovative instructional class, but this was the first time Radio Mewat tried this model. The response was heartening, as the programme helped fill in filling the critical gap of teachers in many of these schools. Some schools integrated radio tuitions with the school curriculum to upgrade the teaching-learning methodology in schools.

Radio Mewat also made provision to provide clarifications to students and parents over the phone. It was a familiar sight to see students walking into the studio to seek answers to their problems. Seeing the impact and popularity of the programme, the District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO) began promoting the initiative and encouraged the students to listen to Radio Tuition. In 2018 March, the DEEO hosted a meeting with the principals of all government colleges and the team of Radio Mewat. He told the principals to encourage the children to listen to the radio and also asked them to send their ‘star’ teachers to assist in program production. The performance of the students of Mewat in the Class X board exams of 2019 is an endorsement of Radio Mewat’s efforts. A total of 57.40% students passed the Class X exam and Mewat ranked fifth in Haryana. Whereas in districts that could not benefit from programs like Radio Tuition, the results continue to be worrisome.

Arif Mohd, the radio reporter, who handles this program says, “We will continue to run this programme and also upgrade the quality, as it has helped build our credibility and has benefited thousands of children of Mewat.”