| RBI governor Raghuram Rajan (second from left) at Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in Jehanabad on Wednesday. Picture by Suman |
Khushboo Kumari had only one request for Raghuram Rajan: upgrade the school to Class X.
Rajan, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor, stepped on to Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya in Jehanabad, around 50km south of Patna, for the first time on Wednesday. He was visibly impressed when the 12-year-old girl of Class VII interacted with him in English.
The school, set up in 2012 with help from World Bank, has three classes — VI, VII and VIII. While 44 and 56 students are enrolled to classes VI and VII, respectively, none has taken admission to Class VIII yet. The school has 22 visually impaired students also. Rajan, accompanied by World Bank country director Onno Ruhl, promised the girls that he would take up the matter with Planning Commission members after returning to Delhi.
Rupa Kumari, a visually impaired student, pleaded that they had become familiar to the school environment. “We should be allowed to continue studies at the school,” she pleaded before Rajan. The girls also demanded to increase the amount of Rs 26.66 provided for daily meal. The visually impaired students are given training to study Braille script. After completing the training, the girls are asked to go back to their native villages and get admission to regular schools.
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Jehanabad, is the first such school in Bihar. The girls studying here are given karate training for self-defence. Moreover, five girls, given bicycles by the state government, visit nearby schools in the radius of 5km as karate trainers. Sangeeta Kumari has also won bronze at the 59th National School Sports Competition held at Khelgaon, Ranchi, in the first week of January.
Rajan was impressed by the paintings made by the students, computer operation by visually impaired girls and their conversation skill. There are two computers with special programme for the visually impaired.
School warden Priyanka Kumari said if training facility was made available to the girls, they would do better in painting. A team of the Union ministry of human resource development visited the school on October 25 last year. “We got information from the Bihar Education Project office around four days back that Rajan would visit the school on January 22,” she said.
Bihar Education Project director Rahul Singh and Jehanabad district magistrate Mohammad Sohail also accompanied Rajan.
After Jehanabad, Rajan visited World Heritage Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodhgaya and offered prayers there. Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee secretary Nangzey Dorje presented him a memento. He then left for Sheikhwara village in Bodhgaya, around 18km south of Gaya, where he met women of self-help groups (SHGs), who demanded to set up a women’s bank. Rajan said such a bank had already been set up.
The RBI governor left for Delhi in the afternoon.