NATION

Rural School Teacher A Great Role Model

Vimal Goundar’s sacrifice and passion for teaching has not gone unnoticed in the highlands of Ba. In two years, the Qerelevu Hindu Primary School teacher, 28, and single, has captured
22 Feb 2017 11:37
Rural School Teacher A Great Role Model
Vimal Goundar. Photo:LITIA TIKOMAILEPANONI

Vimal Goundar’s sacrifice and passion for teaching has not gone unnoticed in the highlands of Ba.

In two years, the Qerelevu Hindu Primary School teacher, 28, and single, has captured the hearts of the local community.

One parent of a student was so impressed with his performance that he went public and praised his dedication to duty on social media.

He posted Mr Goundar’s photo on the Facebook page called Samachar Darshan and how he used to cross the river on foot or on horseback early in the morning to reach school.

Mr Goundar was unaware that the post had gone viral.

He was surprised and could not understand what the fuss was all about because the qualities that he was being praised for were no big deal. They were part of his nature.

He is the epitome of hard work, sacrifice, love and passion for teaching, humility and compassion

The Year 6 teacher said he was raised by his father to be disciplined, be obedient and to work hard.

Mr Goundar started his teaching career at Nadi Muslim Primary School in 2013.

In 2014, he sought a transfer to a school closer to his home in Vatusui, after his father, Guru Swamy, passed away so that he could look after his mother, Kanyamma Swamy, 51.

He was then posted to Qerelevu Hindu School on the opposite side of the Ba River where his home is located.

The normal route to go to the school from his home, is a 45-minute bus ride to Ba Town and then a transfer to another bus for a 40-minute trip to the school.

Because of the frequent delays and sometimes late arrival to school, he takes the shortcut across the river.

This means wading through knee-deep water or even higher against fast currents. Sometimes he travels on horseback if the river level is higher.

He has to take a change of clothes in case he gets wet.

Either way he has to leave home at 5.30am at the latest to get to school on time before the students arrive.

“I am living my father’s dream,” he said.

“I cannot stay away from my home because I am the only breadwinner so I took a transfer to this school and I am very happy teaching here,” Mr Goundar said.

“Crossing the river for me does not matter as long as I get to my children and I cannot keep them waiting so I opt for the less time-consuming option to come to teach.

“Although I always wanted to be an accountant, I am happy to have become a teacher today. I have accomplished the dreams of my father.”

On May 3, Mr Goundar will be graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Primary Education from the Fiji National University.

To get to this point, Mr Goundar started his degree programme in 2013. He taught and studied at the same time.

After school, from Mondays to Fridays, he would travel to Lautoka’s FNU campus to do his night classes from 6pm to 8pm. On Saturday, he would study from 9am to 3pm.

It was a big sacrifice and hard work.

Mr Goundar thanked the Ministry of Education for trusting him with his job and giving him the opportunity to continue with his studies.

“I am happy to be teaching at this school and there are no regrets for each day of teaching is a blessing for me,” he said.

So far in his career, Mr Goundar has only missed school once, when he attended his father’s funeral.

“It’s a passion,” he said.

For the Qerelevu community, he is a great role model.


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