| Bibha Kumari at Ramakrishna Ashram Middle School. Picture by Amit Kumar |
For Puja Kumari, Bibha madam is no less than a messiah.
The Class IX student of Mokshada Government Girls’ School would have discontinued her studies had it not been for Bibha Kumari, the headmistress of Ramakrishna Ashram Middle School in Bhagalpur town.
“I would have been unable to continue with my education had it not been for Bibha Ma’am’s help and encouragement,” said Puja, the daughter of a vegetable vendor.
When she was a Class VIII student at Ramakrishna Ashram Middle School last year, Puja was irregular at school and very poor in her studies. “But Bibha Ma’am loved me very much and told me about the importance of education. She told me many stories to make me realise the result of neglecting studies. She visited my parents many times and convinced them to send me to school regularly,” she said.
It’s not only Puja who has benefited from the benevolence of Bibha Kumari (51). For her services to the teaching profession since 1987, she will be honoured by President Pranab Mukherjee on Teachers’ Day this year.
Bibha, a resident of Barari Housing Colony, would travel to New Delhi, along with five other teachers from the state, to receive the award.
“I was selected for the award for my performance over the past five years. My performance as the headmistress of Mirachak Middle School (which got the Best School Award from the state government in 2011) and Ramakrishna Ashram Middle School (which was listed as a quality institution in 2012) was the reason for my selection,” said Bibha.
The senior teacher learnt of the honour on August 29. Bibha said she was proud that her efforts and dedication were being finally rewarded.
The award has, however, not surprised her students and colleagues who are well aware of her commitment to education. Mukesh Anand, secretary, Bhagalpur Primary Teachers’ Union, said: “She (Bibha) deserves the award. She is a role model for others.”
Khusboo Kumari, a student in Class VII at Ramakrishna Ashram Middle School, said: “The personality of Madam (Bibha Kumari) is very attractive. She loves her students very much. She is a good teacher. We respect her from the core of our hearts.”
For Bibha, the inspiration to strive for the best was her father. They used to live at Maika in Vaishali and he was the headmaster of a zila school. He was the model she emulated in her professional life.
Asked about her secret formula for success in a challenging profession, Bibha said: “It is essential to motivate students and their parents all the time, especially those who come from poor families. They need to be convinced about the necessity of attending school regularly.