Interview with Smt. Raj Rani Goel

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By Education Today

Posted on November 16, 2022


6 min read

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raj rani goel founder , satluj public school ,ellenabad

Coming from a very traditional background to opening a school in your native place which was a very remote village of Haryana to making it this successful- how would you describe your own journey?

When I started this school in 1986, there was no other educational institution in Ellenabad . I didn’t think about the profit I’d gain or the success of this school, I just started it. There was no option of looking back because I wanted to educate the children in my native place. My journey was about honesty and hard work. I wake up every day at three in the morning and have a very disciplined routine. I take time for my personal things and then start working for the school. I had to counsel parents for three to four hours each day to make them aware of the benefits of education. And thirty-six years after the inception of the school, I feel proud to have my students studying and working for prestigious institutions all around the world. Persistence is the mantra I followed from the beginning and now I am having the fruit of it. 

I believe you started this school from a single room. Why did you decide to make this a residential school?

Ellenabad was totally a remote village. There was hardly any English medium school and to be honest there was not even a school or even a ‘paathshaala.’ Since ours was the first school in Ellenabad, there were a lot of challenges we had to face as beginners. We had to educate parents, and educate the entire community in a place like Haryana where education itself sounded far-fetched. It took more than ten to fifteen years to change that mindset of the people. It wasn’t a one-night challenge. At first, when we started the school, we introduced class till 4th standard. When we take a student of six or seven years, say into 1st standard, we had to train them from the beginning, from the basics. We started with the concept of day school and immediately changed to a boarding school because we realized we would have enough time to work on the student, to upgrade him. We were hand-holding these kids one to one, that was the model we followed when we started and we had imbibed that till date in the total structure of the system. 

We overcame every challenge that came our way  just by being diligent. I am very passionate about teaching. I work eighteen hours a day which is not required if you talk in terms of finances. But we had a motive and we worked on it.

You also try to educate students from poor financial backgrounds who otherwise cannot access education. How does that work along with the school?

If you visit our school, there is a front office followed by the school building. When you enter the school premises, cross the front office, no one knows whether you’re deprived, whether you pay or not. I do not do this by obligation but by choice, my preference. We do not take in students just to fill the numbers, we go for students who are unable to pay the fees but are interested in studies. Earlier when I worked for monetary benefits, I did it then. So why not now? 

Children staying in hostels will have a lot on their plate. They will be homesick and their mental health will be fragile. How do you take care of that?

Personal involvement is the answer.I become very personalized with the kids. I take them to my home, cook for them, talk to them, counsel them. I try to provide motherly care, and be an ice breaker. And nowadays, this is reducing because they know why they are here. 

You work not only for children but also for the community. How does this work along with handling a boarding school?

We visit the villages to make them aware about certain things, about what all are the facilities the government provides for children. When the government introduced the SHRESHTA scheme for children, we distributed the application forms in villages. I work a lot on moral education in students. I believe if you work on a child, humbly and amicably, they are bound to listen to you. When PM Modi called for a Clean Bharat, we went to each community to make them aware of it. We conduct community sports tournament, street plays about child marriage, dowry etc. Laymen would think whether this is of any use but it really impacts a lot. We try to engage kids in community service which in a way increases their interpersonal relationships, communication skills and leadership skills.

Shouldn’t we really be focussing on the mantra “Education for all?” What are the steps that should be taken to make education accessible to every child in our country?

“Education for all” sounds good but being a very big population, it is a very humongous task. I would say both the government and beneficiaries are equally responsible. Haryana government’s rule 134-A reserved 10% seats for EWS category students in every private school. When we started inviting applications for them, we found out those who came with the certificate were not eligible and the actually eligible ones were still deprived. “Education for all” is a collective responsibility. 

What keeps you going? 

What keeps me going is the result of our hard work. I have almost two hundred to three hundred doctors, IAS and IPS officers, pilots from my school and everytime I go out in public, I would definitely meet a student. These are the moments when I feel the proudest. 

Today being children’s day, what is your message to young children out there?

Be honest, grow in yourself a sense of nationality and help others. These are the messages I would like to give the kids of today. Think for the best and be your best. Your hard work and persistence will make you successful and once you succeed, help someone else. Make society a better one.