In a unique initiative Mo School project launched by Odisha School and Mass Education Department provides a philanthropic platform facilitating emotional connect between alumni and alma maters. This citizen-government partnership program was initiated at the request of different government and government-aided school alumni of Odisha who wished to contribute to their schools.
Apart from financial contribution of the donors the Odisha government provides operational and financial support to the program. The state government has also committed to spend twice the amount of each donor’s contribution. This would be in addition to the government’s budgeted expenditure.
The administrative set up consists of the Mo School Executive Body which is in charge of day-to-day affairs supported by a Governing Council and a Board of Advisors.
It is axiomatic that public participation helps in realizing better accountability and better reach in terms of project or policy delivery. “When the alumni, teacher associations and local community participate in the developmental process of schools better realization of learning outcomes are possible which in turn improves the ambience of schools,” said Amarjit Jena, the Chief Operating Officer of Mo School.
The alumni come together, capitalize their own resources and contribute to the school. The alumni can contribute either in cash or kind. They can visit their school page on Mo School website, look up at the updates, find the details of their teachers and coordinate with them
Financial contributions are paid to the District Collectors who are the district heads of the district level committee of Mo School. The Executive Council that sits every month reviews the proposals received and gives approval. The funds from the government’s end are dispersed within 40 days. “The whole process gets completed within two months. It enhances the accountability and emotional connect of the locals as they can see the fruit of their donation being materialized in a short span of time,” informed Jena.
If the alumni decide to donate any asset to the school, prior consultation with the school authorities needs to be done. And if the asset is of more than 5 lakh the alumni needs to get approval from the District Collector.
Moreover the alumni can also contribute in terms of service which may range from gardening to providing classroom coaching to the students. The decisions regarding these activities are taken at the school level.
“Each pass-out batch has their WhatsApp groups. Someone from the locality or in Odisha coordinates with their fellow batch-mates and the teachers over WhatsApp. So the mobilization is carried out by the local community who connect with others staying elsewhere in India or abroad. Most of the funds are received at the schools. We also receive many proposals at the web-portal,” Jena explained.
Some Success Stories
The Mo School project has many success stories to share. For instance, the Onslow Govt High School at Ganjam has introduced smart classrooms enabling the students to digitally participate in the knowledge acquiring process. The school has collected around 3 lakh rupees from 12 contributors. The school is now focusing on up-skilling teachers to get them well-versed with digital infra and hi-tech technology.
Similarly, at the Brundavan Government High School in Hinjilicut, Mo School’s efforts got complimented by District Mineral Fund, under the leadership of Sri Vijay Amruta Kulange, the District Collector of Ganjam. The classrooms have turned ‘smart’. The hi-tech infrastructure has been attracting students from all across and its pupils are expressing eagerness to be part of the classroom activities.
There are around 50,000 government or government-aided schools in Odisha. The Mo School project has been able to reach out to 31,000 of them in a span of three years. More than 3 lakh alumni have devoted service for their schools while around 4.61 lakh have financially contributed 100 crore rupees to the initiative.
Thus, instead of following a top down approach the Mo School empowers local alumni and the teachers to play a major role in determining what is best for the students. To connect, collaborate, contribute, create and celebrate is the mantra of this innovative initiative.