Azamgarh: With the increase in the spread of the COVID-19 virus, education across the world has gone online. As a result, a lot of students need internet that is free and fast. This is why Hera Public School, Phadgudia is in the process of converting their village Phadgudia into a Wi-Fi Hub and evolving into a full-fledged digital school. Hera Public School is situated in the village of Phadgudia in the district of Azamgarh in a scenic rural setting of eastern Uttar Pradesh. Er. Tarique Azam, a notable alumnus of IIT Madras (1974) and AIT Bangkok (1975) is the Founder of Hera Public School and has been committed to revive the concept of Excellent Community through holistic and quality education. Er. Tarique Azam has a professional experience which spans over about 40 years involving more than 200 projects in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Middle East, and North Africa varying from tallest twin towers, international class expressways, largest span cable-stayed bridge to 2100-Megawatt power station and mass housing. After retiring from the post of Chief Executive of a Public Listed Engineering and Construction Company, he committed himself to work for the educational, social, and economic upliftment of the community, starting from the place of his birth, specially the weaker and underprivileged sections of the society through proper education and skill development.
On the digital transformation of the school and enabling digital education for the students of Azamgarh, he said, “This was the beginning of realization of an old dream which I had nurtured from my IIT days or perhaps even earlier. It was in the year 2000 when I visited my village and realized the school which gave me quality education and made me learn how to create a balance between the spiritual and material needs, was in a pitiful state. The condition of the school had deteriorated to such an extent that the villagers had stopped sending their kids to that school. It was the time when I sensed that work must start at the grass root level and the need to establish a school in the village of my birth in order to address the educational backwardness of the rural society. I aspired to give back to the society from where I had gained so much. With this vision, I established Azam Welfare and Educational Society in 2003 and laid down the foundation of Hera Public School in 2006.”
Today, the school has more than 900 students, with 220 students being fully sponsored by Azam Welfare and Educational Society/Trust and many friends and relatives of Azam family. Gradually, the school has been able to achieve its objectives of community upliftment by providing world class education to underprivileged students of rural Azamgarh. However, COVID-19 has struck a very hard blow to the whole mission. Students have not been able to come to the school for about 8 months and online live classes weren’t possible since the village lacks proper internet connectivity. As a result, a lot of students ended up missing online classes, even if they had smartphones.
In order to resolve this, Hera Public School associated with 3EA, a Global Management Consulting Group, which assisted them with their unique capacity building and enhancement services. The team of Hera Public School and 3EA collected data on the number of students and their ages in the surrounding villages and segregated the data into the ones who have smartphones and the ones who don’t have smartphones. Similarly, they also checked for the students who had access to fast internet and so on. Once this was done, 3EA helped Hera Public School in developing a strategic action plan for implementation of E-learning methodology at school and also strengthening their internal organizational processes.
Hera Public School has been working on this for more than a month now and have planned to provide tablets and laptops to all the students. The school has also collaborated with Jio for providing better internet connectivity in the area and providing sim cards to all the students. A lot of students who are able to access the content through fast internet are quite happy with the initiative. The school is also in the process of creating around fifty hotspot connections in the villages. Furthermore, the school has installed solar panels and established digital library, Mathematics and English language labs for the students. The school also plans to implement digital skill development programs in the villages, in order to create employment for youth at their own native place.
Hera Public School is fully committed to transform this rural backward society in Azamgarh into a literate, ethical, morally upright, caring, having scientific temperament, tech-savvy and prosperous community. In the words of Er. Tarique Azam, “The most cherished dream of my life is to see the students of Hera Public School grow academically, emotionally and socially to become a model human being, an ideal citizen and bring a change to the world around them. As the Founder Chairman of Hera Public School, it gives me immense pleasure to witness the success and growth of my students into potential future leaders. And God willing, one day in not a too distant future, they will be bearing this same torch to the future generations – Aameen.”