Vidyanjali 2.0 is turning out to be a successful model of linking alumni with their schools in more ways than one. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, whose humble beginning was through a portal inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 7, 2021 and has found ready acceptance in Assam. The idea of the portal is to enable past students, former teachers, well-wishers, professionals, private organisations, NGOs and corporates, former and present employees to contribute meaningfully to their alma mater or an educational institution in which they are a stakeholder in any way.
“The scheme has found a very favourable response in Assam. People from all walks of life have come forward to register their name on this portal to contribute to upgrading the education and infrastructure standards of the school of their choice. Assam is number one on the list in the country on this score,” says Sumi Borthakur, State Programming Officer, Sarba Siksha Mission, Assam. (See Box)
Under the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) code, educational institutions can register themselves with the portal. Once these institutions are registered, volunteers can contribute and directly connect to Government schools or Government-assisted ones of their choice for various types of activities ranging from service or taking classes to donating books for libraries and upgrading infrastructure, including donation of furniture.
Hemanta Koch, a teacher of Chengelimora Government Girls Lower Primary School in Sonitpur district, has donated a ceiling fan through the portal. “Classrooms in my school had no fans until I donated one. This led to loss of concentration on classes by most students during the summers. Even before we came to know about the portal, teachers at our school had discussed the idea of donating fans in all the classrooms. Now that the school is registered under the Vidyanjali 2.0 portal, villagers are also keen to donate something or the other to the school. They had previously contributed materials to construct boundaries around the institution,” Koch informs Asom Barta.
It is worth mentioning that the 1987 batch students of the Sibsagar Government High Secondary Multi Purpose School donated 100 tables and chairs in total for the teachers’ restroom under the scheme. Similarly, the 1985 batch students of Rajdhar Bora Higher Secondary School donated books and furniture to upgrade the standard of library in their alma mater.
A teacher at a private school in the same district, Jonali Jhora, registered herself in the portal. She has donated a ceiling fan to her school — Lutheran High School. “I am keen to contribute to society. Whenever I get a chance, I try to do whatever I can. Through Vidyanjali 2.0, I got an opportunity to do something for my school. Many of my family members were students in this school. I had always dreamt of contributing something to this institution. I appreciate the idea of the portal. Even those who are far and away can contribute meaningfully to an institution of their choice”, she says.