Building basic infrastructure, tackling child labour and orthodox norms, helping first-generation learners, and finding ways to work remotely in places with no resources — teaching in India often means negotiating several challenges. For their innovations and efforts, 44 teachers across the country were Sunday honoured with the National Award for Teachers by the Ministry of Education in a virtual ceremony presided over by President Ram Nath Kovind.

These are some of the winners:

Duda Sora, Arunachal Pradesh Government Upper Primary APP Complex, Aalo East, West Siang district

When Sora took charge as head of his school in 2018, it had no water supply. His school is located in a police colony, and he found the pipes had been removed. “I asked for a meeting with senior-most police officers and demanded that this be rectified. The SP got it fixed and issued orders stating that the pipe cannot be removed. There was a shortage of furniture, only blackboards and no whiteboards, no computers. I got everything arranged,” he said.

Enrollment in the school has increased from 188 to 293 since Duda joined.

Rangaiah Kaderla, Telangana MPPS Sawarkheda, Kumuram Bheem Asifabad district

Kaderla moved to the village of Sawarkheda in 2010 as its school’s only teacher. Back then, it had only 50 students. Now, enrollment has increased by more than 5 times to 250. He says he was able to do this by “changing the attitude of the villagers to the school” and by making the school his world.

“When my children became of school-going age, I enrolled them in this school itself. This encouraged a lot of people. I worked on giving quality education and in 2016, we started teaching in the English medium,” he said.

Chandana Dutta, Bihar M S Ranti Government School, Rajnagar, Madhubani

One of Dutta’s primary missions was to bring more girls into the school. When she joined it in 2005, there were barely one or two girls in any class.

“ I met parents and asked them to send their daughters to school, telling them that they might not have had the opportunity but their daughters have a chance at a different life. Now the ratio in our school is around 60 girls to 40 boys,” she said.

Pramod Kumar Shukla, Chhattisgarh Eklavya Model Residential School, Karpawand, Bastar

As an English teacher working with first-generation learner Adivasi boys who have no exposure to English outside the classroom, Shukla’s primary approach has been to “teach English as a language, and not a subject”.

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