MARG (Movement for Amity towards Roads in Goa) under Centre for MARG’s Institute for Citizenship and Civic Sense Education and for allied activities such as civic clubs, road culture etc in June 2018 established 25 civic clubs in 25 schools. NT KURIOCITY finds more
RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITY
MARG-aimed at inculcating road culture was started twenty years ago by four freedom fighters including managing trustee of MARG Gurunath Kelekar. MARG recently completed 20 years of its existence and they have addressed 70,000 students from all over Goa on ‘Road Culture’ including traffic rules and cleanliness, and various other activities.
It was two years back when Kelekar realised speeches do not change people’s minds and that the best way to make public aware about road safety is to educate them. Thus, he started civic clubs for the elderly and college students but that did not work out and so last year in June he established 25 civic clubs to give civic sense sessions in schools which will conclude by the end of this month. The clubs are for class 5 to 8 in 25 schools across Goa, mainly in the South Goa wherein teachers have been appointed to teach civic sense. There is no exam or theory or written notes. They have a lecture every week for about one and a half hour and students are taught civic sense in a very interactive and practical manner. “I have written a book ‘Tilla, Dar Ughad’ which has 10 lessons on civic sense and is taught to the students.” The 25 clubs have been established with the names of 25 Goan freedom fighters.
At the civic clubs students are also given books containing anecdotes on Gandhiji’s life. Later, they tell these stories and best storytellers win a trip to Karnataka Health Institute at Ghataprabha. The students also share their experiences in form of letters that are published in monthly MARG bulletin which carries activities done during the month.
Kelekar believes that children should be given civic sense education at a young age. He says: “We do not have citizens, all are voters. In America, citizenship is taught to children early in school and that is the reason civic sense is successful there, unlike in India.” Kelekar says that more than 300 persons in Goa die every year due to road accidents. “In Goa, there is a two-wheeler crisis and I feel 95 per cent people break rules.”
At present approximately 625 students have been attending the civic sense sessions. And this year Kelekar wants to establish more 40 clubs and reach out to 1000 children. He adds: “We have prepared a Gandhiji’s badge and if we are successful with our mission of teaching 1000 children then we will give them these badges,” adding that however, they need money to start another 40 clubs.
“Also, from next academic year we want to teach children civic sense and citizenship,” concludes Kelekar.