गुरुर्ब्रह्मा ग्रुरुर्विष्णुः गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः । गुरुः साक्षात् परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः ॥
The gist: Guru (a teacher) is the representative of Brahma, the Creator; Vishnu, the Protector; and Shiva, the Destroyer. His status is equal to that of God for his pupils, whom he frees from the clutches of ignorance and grants wisdom. We salute such a Guru.
The importance of a good teacher has always been revered since time immortal. A peep into the backstory of any successful person would highlight the presence of a prominent teacher and his contribution to his pupil’s success. No wonder, Kamlesh Zapadiya is going to be mentioned in the success stories of a lot of his students. After all, which teacher, who belongs to an ordinary farmer family would walk up to 20 miles daily only so that he could kindle the interest of his students in learning?
Kamlesh Zapadiya is a 39 years old primary school teacher from Rajkot, Gujarat. He realized that although his students came to school regularly, they did not really enjoy the process of learning. Nor did they really understand many things easily. Kamlesh felt that education shouldn’t be a redundant process. It should rather be enjoyable and fun. He started introspecting about how could he make his students enjoy coming to school without compromising on learning. In 2014, inspired by the format of Kaun Banega Crorepati, he decided to convert the entire syllabus from class 1st to 10th into a quiz format. However, as he stayed on an orchard (wadi) to take care of his family and the farm, electricity and internet connection was a big challenge. Hence, travelled 20 km each day to get his laptop and phone connected with internet. He started to dig deep into alternate education methods, tools, online tutorials, etc.
“While I was researching, I learnt a lot of interesting things and I wanted to share them with the public. Hence, Edusafar has all the study materials and information that one needs related to primary and secondary education,” says Zapadiya.
Along with his friends, he started Edusafar, a web portal where they upload the entire syllabus in a quiz format and is freely available for everyone to download. The format has also been recognized by the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad.
“The idea is to make education simpler and easy to understand. Being a teacher, I understand the troubles faced by students and this site is expected to act as a tool for simpler learning alternatives,” says Zapadiya.
A team of 6 members, who are teachers in various schools across Gujarat manage the website. Realizing the difficulty of vernacular medium students to understand syllabus that is mainly in English, especially during higher education, they also launched an app for competitive exams in Gujarati.
“There are no such apps or books in Gujarati. For those who don’t understand English and still want to crack these exams, this app could come in handy,” he says.
Till date, he has not charged any money from anyone for his selfless efforts. Kamlesh Zapadiya was among 100 teachers who were felicitated by the Gujarat Innovative Education Council and the Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training, for their efforts in making education, not just accessible but also enjoyable.
Teachings of Kamlesh Zapadiya are not confined to four walls of any classroom. He leads by example on how to put the needs of others ahead of your comfort and strive to make all possible efforts selflessly for the benefit of society. Teachers like him teach syllabus of life which includes important chapters of humanity, problem-solving attitude, and selfless service to society. Truly, one great teacher lays a foundation of an entire great generation.