Teacher Overcomes Mountain Barriers

A dedicated teacher prioritizes educating children in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand to his own personal comfort. Uttarakhand is known to be home to some of the best private schools in India and has a literacy rate of 72.28% which is higher than the national average, but its state school infrastructure in the hilly areas is lacking. Besides a deficiency of teachers and facilities, they also face the problem of student retention - parents encourage their children to work in the farms and houses. Teachers who are posted there apply in droves to be re-posted in the plains, as life isn't easy up in the hills.

Through her involvement with her local Village Children's Council and the NGO her father is associated with, Luxmi found out about Daulat Bist - 'a ray of light' in a dark situation. He is from Kumaon, a town nestled at the foot of the Himalayas. Now he teaches in a little village called Dungri, and is adored by his students and everyone else.

Daulat shows his commitment and strength of belief in education in many ways. He teaches the students even in his free time, and is multi-talented - he tutors them sport, music and dancing; he creates an atmosphere where the children feel alive and want to stay in school. Most of all, Daulat leads by example: he took his own children out of the private schools they were in, and enrolled them in the Dungri State Primary School when he was posted here.

The education at this school is not free but subsidized. Due to the debilitating lack of health care and other facilities in the hilly regions, both teachers and students prefer to move down to the plains in search of a better quality of life. Luxmi herself came down to pursue her secondary school and university studies, and laments this state of affairs.

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