Rebuilding Couragehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/rebuilding-courage/

Rebuilding Courage

Himmat Shala,which comes to the rescue of students who have failed SSC exams,is keeping up its success rate in the eighth year

Numbers and Suraj Asware did not get along well. He attempted the Class X board examination thrice,each time getting stuck because of Mathematics. Frustrated,he turned to Himmat Shala as his last resort before writing the October supplementary examination one final time last year. When the result was declared,Asware’s score took him by surprise. He cleared the examination with a “dream score” of 86 in Mathematics out of 150 marks.

Asware is one of over 500 beneficiaries of Himmat Shala,a teaching project that is the brainchild of educationist Dr A L Deshmukh and the joint effort of Ahmednagar Shahar Vasiya Mitra Mandal and Rotary Club of Midtown,Pune. In its eighth year now,the project gives special coaching to students who have failed Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination so that they can clear the supplementary examination and pursue higher education like their peers. This year’s batch comprises 50 students till now,including 16 girls.

The facility is free,provided that the student clears his or her examination after enrolling in the coaching classes. Explaining it,Deshmukh,a retired Science teacher from Laxmanrao Apte Prashala,says,“Students need to pay Rs 500 while joining our classes. However,this money is refunded when they clear the examination.”

Sharing that the average pass percentage of Himmat Shala is more than double the pass percentage of total number of students appearing for the supplementary board examination,Deshmukh says,“We feel very happy while returning the deposit fee of Rs 500 to students after they pass the examination.”

Giving details of how they manage to train students,Deshmukh says the teaching session at Himmat Shala begins in July and goes on till September,with classes being held for two hours in the evenings at Vimalabai Garware High School. The coaching is focussed on helping students pass the exams. “We have picked portions from each subject and focus only on it so that students get at least minimum marks required for passing,” Deshmukh says. Besides teaching sessions,tests are conducted every fortnight to assess the students’ performance. Weekends,however,are reserved for counselling students and motivating them through talks by experts in various fields and noted personalities.

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“Teenagers should not see failure in examination as their defeat in life. These youngsters need moral support and psychological counselling to overcome the set back,instead of being fed with guilt like our society often does,” says Deshmukh,adding that at Himmat Shala they try to infuse a new confidence in the students so that they can have a broader outlook to life. Quoting George Bernard Shaw,Deshmukh reiterates,“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”