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Interview of educationalist Vasant Pathak

Vasant Pathak

Vasant Pathak is an eminent educationalist from Rajkot who runs two educational institutes viz. Pathak Vidyamandir and Pathak Schools providing primary and higher secondary education. Before he established these institutions he used to teach the subject of mathematics to science students. His simple personality, highly understanding nature, supportive willingness, excellent management are some of the virtues that he carries with him. In the interview he talks about the present education system as well as the suicidal tendency being observed in students these days.

Videos of Interview

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Excerpt of Interview

Q.: How old is your relation with education? How it all did start?

It’s indeed quite old. During my primary education, sometimes I was given the responsibility to look after standard 1st’s students when I was in standard 2nd, this was due to lack of teachers in school. Likewise I used to look after standard 2nd’s students when I was in 3rd standard. Hence, experience of teaching comes very early to me. When I was studying in 11th at Amreli, we used to give free tuitions to financially weak students of standard 10. This activity was done under Arvind Kendra’s banner. It was the very first time that I taught subject of science to 10th standard students when I was studying in 12th science. That can be called as my first experience as a teacher. Since then I was inspired to become a teacher.

Q.: What’s your take on present education system? Different people have different say about it, few of them support it where as few blame it. Being an educationalist, what you have to say about it?

I really don’t support people who blame the present education system. They say that education system has become a burden on students, quality wise it has become poor and what not. But I think that, it’s not the education system but us – society and parents have made the education system burdensome by making it competitive and not educative. Otherwise, education system is indeed of best quality and full of joy. We blame education system by involving competition and mark system into it. Education becomes burdensome when we add up marks to it while getting an admission in some school or even getting a job somewhere.

Secondly, few parents are so much engrossed in getting their child educated rapidly or they believe in providing more and more education to their child and hence they get their child admitted in such a school where bunch of extra co-curricular activities are taught which may really be unnecessary. Children studying in Primary school having medium as English are added with bunch of new books which may be equivalent to NCRT or from Hyderabad’s private publications which makes the education really burdensome for a child. Instead, if they are taught only the Government prescribed syllabus, it won’t be burdensome at all.

Q.: Teachers and school of course have a major role in a child’s growth. But even parents are equally or more responsible for child’s growth. What’s your view on this?

Say parents have chosen the best school for their child, but if he lacks the kind of supportive atmosphere and guidance at home, he can not attain good education. Even the society is equally responsible.

Once during parents meeting I told them that even the atmosphere of the street where you live can play an important part in your child’s education. Inspired by this message, parents of one child shifted their home in real. They left a house which was owned by them and started living in a rented home for one year as their son was in 11th science. He had scored 72% in 10th standard, where as after shifting to an area where educated people lived, in 12th standard he scored the 9th rank in Rajkot centre.

Various awards and honors
Various awards and honors

Q.: We all know that today’s education is indeed costly. Not all can afford it. When it comes to you, how has it been in your case? In other words, was it tough or easy for you?

I had no issue till standard 10 as Government provides it for free. To study further I went to Amreli to complete my 11th and 12th science. I started living in our cast’s boarding. Yearly charges were Rs. 360 and that too were provided by a donor for me as I couldn’t afford it. School I had taken admission in was a granted one, hence education was mostly free for me then. There was no chance that I could afford to attend tuitions. In our school, there was no teacher for the subject of mathematics and hence I had prepared it all myself only. Even other teachers weren’t capable enough to complete the entire course, hence I studied everything myself and attended 12th standard’s exam.

Because I couldn’t afford tuition I had decided that in future when I provide tuitions to others, should make it available for the financially weak students either at nominal charges or for free. Till date, I am executing this thought. In my schools, if some students are recommended by people saying that they indeed deserve education but are not capable enough to pay the fees, I provide whatever best can be done from my side. I highly welcome the thought of Kapil Sibal for self finance school to reserve 25% of seats for free for financially weak or poor students.

Q.: What really inspired and strengthened you to establish educational institutes?

While doing a teacher’s job in a school, I also used to do the tuitions outside in my spare time. I have always believed that a person should utilize all his skills and energy in totality but making sure the prime responsibility is performed first. I have also said that if Dhirubhai Ambani by selling clothes can become such a huge industrialist, if Karshanbhai Patel can establish a big chemical industry by selling washing powder on his cycle, why can’t a teacher progress further? I often mention that when an industrialist buys a luxurious car, no one feels jealousy of him but when a teacher buys a simple fronty car, people start feeling like “Oh, he bought a car!” Hence, with the mindset of progressing further I used to do the tuitions making sure it doesn’t affect my responsibility to school I was working in then.

Hence, when teachers doing job in school were prohibited from providing tuitions I resigned from the school with mutual understanding with its trustees. After I resigned, many other talented teachers too resigned such as Vimal Kapoor resigned from Lal Bahadur Shastri Vidyalaya, Modi Sir from Saurashtra Highschool, Vaghela Sir from Lal Bahadur Shastri Vidyalaya and many others who were excellent in teaching important subjects such as mathematics, physics and chemistry. They resigned to continue their tuitions classes. With a prohibition on tuitions, I believe its schools that had to suffer from the loss. We can say that such talented teachers were sharing their knowledge with students for free if we compare with the present fees of private tuitions. Now that, such teachers resigned from the schools, students too left such schools and ultimately it made the good schools without quality teachers. If you know that Saurashtra Highschool of Rajkot was considered as the best school of science stream as in the then board exams out of 10 rankers of board, 8 were from Saurashtra Highschool. But today’s situation is that, the science stream itself is no more available there. Likewise in Kadvibai Kanya Vidyalaya science stream is closed, the then best science school for girls ‘Kotak Girls school’ has the problem of filling the class with required strength. So you can see what damage that prohibition rule has caused. And then Government declared a scheme for self-finance school where with the affiliation with Government a self-finance school can be run. This inspired those teachers who were providing tuitions and today we see that this scheme has given us good schools in Rajkot such as Dholakiya school, Mody school, Gajera school, Bharad school, our Pathak schools, Vivek school, Vidya Niketan etc. These schools are successful today and are run by teachers who used to run tuitions classes.

Q.: As we have talked about the expensive education system, how does your school supports those students who are talented but lack finance to study?

In my circle of people such as educationalists, social workers and teachers I have given a word that if you find any such a student who can not study further only for lack of money, do recommend him/her to me and I will manage to provide him the required education. Likewise, there is this trust called Pujit Rupani Memorial Trust operational in Rajkot, what they do is they locate talented students from corporation’s local school and contact good schools in Rajkot and get them admitted there. Those schools do provide education to such students for free. Pathak Schools is one of such schools who support such social activity in field of education.

There is also another trust which works only for the children living in slum areas. It is Vishvanidam Public Charitable Trust run by Jitu Rehana. What they do is, they first gather children from slum areas, teach them basic etiquette and shape them. After the process they select those students who they feel should be given a chance to study. After selecting them, they contact various schools and get them admitted there for free with the support of those schools. At present, our school is providing free education to such 10 students recommended by his trust. We don’t even declare their background to other students for the reason not to create inferiority complex in them.

Q.: These days, some students appearing in 10th and 12th board exams do take the extreme step of suicide for the fear of poor results. Their age is normally 15 to 17 years, and they have the entire life ahead to live, but still somehow they extremely decide to suicide. What you think, what is the reason for this?

I believe that some schools, teachers, parents, relatives and media have created the impression of board exams as a bugbear. During parents meetings I often recommend to students to prepare a time table of the day. After they spend five hours at school and go back to home, they should have some fix time table for studies, such as total three hours, divided into homework as well as revision. If they follow such a routine throughout the year, they won’t fear from the exam.

It may be interesting to know that parents do change their child’s school in 10th standard. Every year our schools get 50 to 60 new students for 10th standard who come from another schools. I ask parents why they decided to switch the school in 10th standard only to which they say that as it’s a board year, their child should be provided good education from a good school! To which I say that it means that they knew that their child was getting poor education in a bad school till 9th standard!

Hence, as their child enters 10th standard, parents start looking for tuition classes and good school. That student starts being forced to study more hours at school and home, stop attending family & social occasions, stop watching television and what not! But instead doing so in the 10th standard, they should have fixed a routine time table from primary education itself. What happens is as the child enters 10th or 12th standard, everything becomes limited for him like watching television for limited hours, playing cricket for limited hours etc. which he had done for unlimited hours before entering the board years. Had he been under a routine time table since primary education, it would have been very easy for him to adjust and not get upset with new changes. And by being upset with such mental stresses, students feel that the education system is burdensome and tough.

Secondly as a student enters in the board year, society, parents and everyone start concentrating and advising him saying “Oh! It’s a board year, you gotta work harder!” And thus a bugbear is created in him which leads to fear. And he starts thinking that what will happen if he fails? 15 or 17 is quite an age having very sensitive nature. And due to such expectations and competitions which lead to fear and that may upset a student badly and make him take extreme step of suicide.

Q.: It may be obvious that you must be running out of time for handling two schools, interacting with teachers, parents and students. Still, can you find enough time for your family? Do they have any complain towards you!

In my family I have two daughters (elder studying in 12th science, younger in 7th), wife and my parents. I believe they do not have complain towards me, because when I go to home at night, I sit with my daughters and if they have any problem in mathematics which is my subject, I solve it first and then go for dinner. I also spend quality time with them. My wife supports me very much as she understands that the kind profession I am involved in requires time. Even I take care of all needs of my parents who are very old now. I spend 2 to 3 hours in afternoon with them and then only I take my dinner after they have it. They rather wait for me at night and take dinner only after I reach home. Apart from my family, I try to look after for my nephews. My wife is the only daughter of my in-laws. I also look after them as being their son.

And if we define the word ‘family’ in a broader way then teachers working at my school, students too are part of it.

Devang Vibhakar with Vasant Pathak
Devang Vibhakar with Vasant Pathak

Q.: What special message you would like to share with students of different fields through the medium of SpeakBindas?

I would like to say only that instead of preparing at the time of exams only, make a routine from the starting of the year itself. Make a time table that you follow regularly. Provide enough concentration while studying at school. I believe that if a student provides 3 to 4 hours of time at home to do homework and revision, after spending 5 hours at school, he won’t be burdened at the time of exam. It will look smooth then.

Do not bother much about less marks. Rather believe that there is always future where you can work harder and get more marks. Compete with yourself only. Increase concentration to your studies. If you follow a regular time table throughout the year, you will get enough time for watching television, playing games and other co-curricular activities. This era is indeed a competitive one. Even after studying when you do a job or some business, it will remain there. So be strong, be regular and for sure the success will come with you.

I thank SpeakBindas for giving me a chance to share my views with its readers and student realm. Thank you.


Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

6 thoughts on “Interview of educationalist Vasant Pathak

  1. Previous comments:

    dineshtilva March 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Pathak Sir, Welcome on net.

    deepak vyas of the global trust March 31, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    great,vasant bhai keep it up.you r very honest guru.always ready to work for u for no financial rewards.devang u have picked up the real jewel.congrats to u also.

  2. heetesh joshi says:

    Respected Pathak Sir

    Most welcome on net , Excellent presentation


    Heeteshbhai Joshi

  3. vivek says:

    hi guys ,,,,,,,,what a best work off pathak sir!!!!!!!!!!i am old student of pathak school from 2002 to 2008 now abroad…………….

    1. Will talk about you when I meet Pathak Sir next time. He will be glad. By the way, which country you are in now?

  4. vivek says:

    i am now in china ….just study M.B.B.S. last year …will finish on july then i will mee pathak sir also sned my rgard to pathaksir… my yahoo id vivek9798@yahoo.com plz convey my message to patahak sir.. u just gv my name bhatt vivek and my bro bhatt vishal to sir he very familiar with us since we study from 8 std to 12 there
    thanking you………..

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