| Children play at the crèche which was started at JB College. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Sept. 18: The first crèche-cum-daycare centre started by a college here is planning to open a preparatory section to give primary education to the tiny tots.
The crèche, which started at JB College on September 7 last year, was the initiative of a few teachers who felt the need for a place where college employees could keep their little ones while on duty. Admissions to the crèche, which is also open for outsiders, has picked up since July.
Minakshi Phukan Hazarika, geography teacher of the college, said the children at the crèche were very happy, some not willing to leave by the end of the day. “Most of the children cry during the first few days but after that they take to the crèche and don’t feel like leaving. We cater to their every demand. One child who persistently cried because he wanted a tricycle was given one by Surajit Sharma, a teacher in the English department. Another tricycle was given by college principal Bimal Barah,” she said. Teachers have also given toys, mattresses, bedsheets, fans and small dining tables.
Sumitra Purkayastha of philosophy department and Minu Sharma of zoology department take turns to monitor the crèche and are helped by members of the women’s cell of the college, under the aegis of which the centre functions. The crèche has a helper, Rupali Gogoi, and a Montessori-trained teacher, Rupanjali Bhuyan. They take care of the children, teaching them to wash their hands before meals and keeping them clean.
Purkayastha said it was at the behest of Bijoy Sharma, former principal of the college, that a dysfunctional employee’s quarters got renovated and was converted into a spacious room with an attached kitchen and bathroom. The renovations took place with a Rs 2 lakh aid from the UGC. The renovation was supervised by Santana Dutta and Pinky Das.
Purkayastha said children aged three years and above were being taught the three Rs at the primary level by Bhuyan. “At present she just tells them stories and teaches them the alphabets and numbers to the elder ones. However, we would like to give the children a more formal education with more admissions taking place. We started with two children and now have nine. The figure had gone up to 12 in July but a few left because of transfers. We can admit upto 20 children,” she said. “The idea was put forward by teachers at a meeting after Anmona Bora found at a UGC workshop that the UGC provides grants for such centres. The college has been so far taking care of the needs of the crèche with the largesse of individual teachers. The Rotary Club pitched in with a water filter. But we are planning to expand our activities to be self sufficient,” she added. Purkayashtha hopes more funds will be forthcoming to build an annexe as education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had proposed the opening up of crèches in all educational institutes in the state.