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National Innovations Public School, Shopian: A school that redefines education in villages
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National Innovations Public School, Shopian: A school that redefines education in villages

Post by Syeda Rafiyah on Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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In 2011, Arshid Mehraj Khan startedNational Innovations Public School (NIPS),a unique school in Zianapora village in Shopian,intending to impart quality education and today its students are bringing laurels to the institution.

Over the past four years, four students from the school have qualified NEET examination and six students have also qualified Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).

More than 20 students have played nationals in different games like table tennis, badminton, karate, vushu and have represented Jammu and Kashmir at national level. Besides, the students have been participating in district-level sports events on the regular basis.

Earlier, this month one LKG student represented the school in the cultural event as the youngest orator which was held by DIET Shopian in collaboration with Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.

When people of the villages saw Khan’s dedication towards setting up a school, they approached him with their kids. The school was started as primary school; it was upgraded to middle school in 2014 and later to high school in 2016. The first batch continued their classes till 10th. Now, he plans to upgrade it to higher secondary.

Hailing from Bijbehara, Khan, who is owner and chairman of the school, said the school has a total roll of 800 students and there are 100 teaching and non-teaching staff which includes 55 teachers.

He got the idea of opening the school in 2010 when he visited the villages in Shopian and that visit proved to be a turning point in his life and motivated him to set up the school.

After his schooling from Delhi, he graduated in commerce from Delhi University and shifted to UK for studying an MBAin 2007. He got a job after completing his MBA in London and was living a comfortable life there.

“When I was at home, I travelled to many places and was pained to see no good school there. People still prefer to go to towns for good schooling and my idea was to start it in the village,” he said.

Khan’s father who is into fruit businesshad no idea what his son was up to.When his father returned after performing Hajj in 2009,Khan shared his idea of setting up a modern school. He supported his decision to stay back and run a school in the village.

“I was not after money. Otherwise I would have taken over my father’s fruit business. But I wanted to bring quality education which is lacking in these villages,” he said.

“The facilities we provide at National Innovations Public School are at par with the schools in Srinagar. This was the first school in south Kashmir which has central heating system, smart classes, CCTV, other modern equipment, high tech labs, proper washrooms and so on,” Khan said.

The 38-year-old Khan said his family had been associated with fruit business for decades in the area and they had good terms with the local.

“I wanted to do something different and opening a school was the idea that hit my mind when I travelled these places. The visit motivated me that there has to be a good private institution that will have all required facilities. I wanted to give back something to the society in the form of a well-established school,” he said.

The social entrepreneur said NIPS is a brand of south Kashmir and the students who aspire to have quality education have got best facilities at their door steps.Earlier, students used to travel longer distances to get education in private schools.

Besides hiring non-teaching staff from the local villages, Khan has hired some of the best teachers who had earlier worked in some of the best private schools in Srinagar.

Most of them travel over 50 kilometers daily from Srinagar in the school buses. “I employed these teachers because they are in this profession by choice, and not by chance,” he said adding “today, the monthly income of the school is 20 lakh, out of which 10 lakh goes to the salary of the staff.” 

NIPS caters to four districts and has kids coming from Bijbehara, Yaripora, Shopian and Pulwama.

“Besides latest teaching aides, we also have theme based classrooms to facilitate the play-way method of teaching.We have kids from villages and they have learned things quickly and are very confident now,” he said.

Recently optimistic Khan brought subject experts from outside the state who conducted workshops with teachers and parents in the school. 

“Some time back a teacher came to me and said she has stopped applying for a government job as feels happy to teach these kids who don’t come from privileged backgrounds,” he said.

Speaking about education as entrepreneurship he said it has huge scope but needs hard work and commitment.“Those youth who are interested in investing their time and money in setting up such schools in far-off places should have a passion for spreading quality education,” he said.

Khan plans to turn the NIPS into higher secondary school in near future which he said will be a game changer for the rural areas around the school.

Notably, this year Khan opened another school in Anantnag named GD Goenka Public School, a primary school, which is affiliated with GD Goenka group. It has enrollment of nearly 200 students. The school is also equipped with smart classes and high-tech labs.

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