Finland’s India Consular Explores Fatehgarh Sahib’s Village Education

by Dr. Jasneet Bedi

In a remarkable display of international cooperation and educational excellence, officials from Finland and local dignitaries recently converged at the Government Primary School in Manela. Led by Liisa Toivonen, Consular of the Embassy of Finland in Delhi, the delegation was astounded by the strides taken in education at the school.

Accompanied by Surekha Thakur, the state Project Director of Smart School, and Sunita Prabhakar, state Project Officer, Liisa Toivonen expressed admiration for the school’s infrastructure, cleanliness, and the quality of education imparted to the students. Impressed by the progress, Liisa extended an invitation to the teachers to visit Finland, aiming to foster mutual learning and enhance educational practices in both countries.

Surekha Thakur shared ambitious plans to transform the Manela school into a ‘happiness school,’ focusing on innovative teaching methods. Highlighting a significant financial commitment, she announced an allocation exceeding Rs 1 crore towards this transformative initiative.

The accolades for Government Primary School, Manela, are not new. In 2019, it was honored as the best school under the ‘My School My Pride’ category of the Swachh Bharat Mission by the state government—a testament to its commitment to excellence.

Jagtar Singh, a distinguished teacher at the school, recounted his journey towards transforming it into a model institution. Recognized with state awards in 2017 and the President’s National Award in 2021, Singh emphasized the pivotal role played by the village panchayat, welfare club, and dedicated teachers in this remarkable turnaround. Since 2016, under his stewardship, student enrollment has quadrupled from 43 to 172, with students now commuting from 15 neighboring villages facilitated by school buses.

Singh’s innovative approach to education includes practical, hands-on learning through working models, ensuring that complex concepts are easily comprehensible to students. His efforts have not gone unnoticed, with proposals from the Punjab Government to send teachers from top government schools for exposure and collaboration in Finland—a testament to the school’s growing reputation.

The visit also saw the presence of key stakeholders such as State Resource Person Harjit Kaur, District Education Officer Shalu Mehra, and others, underscoring the collective commitment to nurturing educational excellence in Manela.

As the Manela school continues to inspire with its achievements and international collaborations, it stands as a beacon of hope, showcasing what dedication and vision can accomplish in transforming the educational landscape for the better.

Dr. Jasneet Bedi

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