Shree ki Pathshala to cement knowledge gaps

Kolkata-headquartered Shree Cement Ltd is now up to cementing the knowledge gap in far-flung hamlets in the country, starting with some of the remote village of Rajasthan. Started two years ago as a corporate social responsibility initiative, Shree ki Pathshala (SKP) by Shree Cement Ltd is not only turning out to be a successful endeavour to reach out to students from the poor families, but is also paying off in positioning the brand as one that cares for the people. At the end of the day, brand reflects the philosophy of the company and the image, top officials of the company said.

 Significantly, the leading cement player has been continually adopting different ways to promote branding and maximise product reach. It has adopted an appropriate mixture of all channels of brand promotion to create a brand standing for its products.

The Shree ki Pathshala project took off in 2016 by adopting four government-run schools at Andheri Deori, Lulwa, Lasadia and Neem Garh in Ajmer district of Rajasthan, to introduce special coaching to the poorest students. The impact of the initiative has been well beyond expectations. The company is already thinking of extending and replicating the same model elsewhere.

“The impact of Shree ki Pathshala (SKP) has surprised us in many ways. The marked improvement in the results under SKP has been noticed by other schools. We are receiving numerous requests from the principals of others schools in the region and elsewhere to introduce project Shree ki Pathshala in their schools as well. The biggest impact of SKP has been to enthuse the poorest of students to take up higher education and look forward to a career. In villages, where education awareness is almost non-existent, there has been a silent revolution among the students, parents and the village community at large. They are now seeing education as the means of empowerment and ensuring a good future,” said P N Chhangani, whole time director, Shree Cement Ltd.

“Imagine a scenario where students walk miles in scorching heat carrying school bags to attend classes, where different classes take place in the same room; syllabuses seldom complete due to acute staff deficit, computers gather dust as there is no one to teach; passing out of schools remains one of the biggest challenges and sending a child to school could mean a meal or two less for a family. In such a dismal situation, Shree ki Pathshala’s initiative has been immensely helping schools with especially-trained qualified teachers. It has not only brought a remarkable change in the performance of the students but also a sea change in the way students, parents, teachers and communities have started looking at education as a means of empowerment and ensuring a good future. All this became possible due to few extra hours of effort by the tutors of Shree ki Pathshala that opened up the mind’s windows,” said Chhangani.

Shree Cement is engaged in both cement as well as power production and geographical mix for the company stands at nearly 60 per cent from North, 22 per cent from East and the rest from the central region. Different sub-brands being offered from the company’s stable include: Bangur Cement, Shree Jung Rodhak Cement and Rockstrong.

Realising that transport and commuting was a major issue, Shree ki Pathshala introduced qualified teachers to coach school students in science and mathematics after school hours to fill in the acute staff deficit. Shree ki Pathshala tutors give much emphasis on quality of teaching and also ensure that the students are comfortable during the class and see the tutors as friends and share their problems. And within two years under the Shree ki Pathshala scheme three of the schools in Lulwa, Lasadia and Neem Garh registered 100 per cent of students passing out of school in 2017-18 for the first time in its history while one SKP school in Andheri Deori showed marked improvement with 89 per cent of students successfully passing higher secondary exams. Some of the students, who never imagined passing out of school went on to score high marks and were rewarded by the state government.

Ritwik Mukherjee