Arun was an average student in school, content with the 50% he scored. “I attended school because my friends went too. I had no particular interest in studies,” he shares, now standing in front of his own class of students.
Yes, Arun now teaches in his old school. But not your traditional subject. He is the Plan 100 Instructor for Energy and Environment section of the Introduction to Basic Technology (IBT)* curriculum. This multi skill vocational curriculum was first introduced in his school by the NGO Vigyan Ashram (before Plan 100 started funding this curriculum in the school ).
Herein he was first introduced to electrical work, which caught his interest. He began to take more interest in the practicals held in school, while looking at its applicability outside too.
Hailing from Shindawane, a farming community in rural Maharashtra, he saw the frequency and ensuing problems faced by villagers when their agricultural pump got spoilt. Having learnt the basics of rewiring in IBT class, he began to self-teach himself to repair a pump. After working for free on the initial few pumps, he began to charge for repairs. “And so, I got my first income,” he proudly shares.
After school he took up an apprenticeship, while alongside pursuing graduation. He began to freelance while in college, but when contracts increased he quit graduation to pursue his work. Arun set up his own practice as an electrician in the village and now, his work extends beyond the village perimeters, with contracts coming in from the nearby towns, and Pune city as well.
Despite having a flourishing practice, he chooses to teach the Energy and Environment section of the IBT program alongside. “I love teaching because I get to experiment and innovate with children, increasing their interest as well. Besides, I’m also getting to learn more.”
Also, he offers apprenticeships to his students, but only their graduation understanding the importance of education and practical skills.
The IBT is a unique, time tested curriculum of multi skill vocational training that has evolved after over 12 years of sustained grassroots efforts by the NGO Vigyan Ashram.
Plan 100 is the flagship project of Lend A Hand India undertaken in 2006 in partnership with Vigyan Ashram, which aims to introduce IBT in 100 schools in Maharashtra. This school in Shindawane has been associated with the Plan 100 project since 2008.