Poly Pattnaik, a teacher, finally turned her childhood dream into reality as she opened her school in Bhubaneswar to provide a nurturing and inspirational environment to the students. However, the road wasn’t easy. She started her school with an investment of RS 30,000 and five teachers in 1992 and today her school has around 2,200 students and 150 teachers.
She was born at Cuttack in Odisha. Later she moved to Bhubaneswar to study humanities at BJV College. After this, she did her post-graduation in teacher’s training from State Council of Educational Research and Training in Bhubaneswar. After completing her post graduation, she returned to Koraput and started working as a primary class teacher in the school she had studied as a child. Although Poly had to quit her job after she got married, she didn’t stop pursuing her passion. In 1987, she joined Kamala Nehru College in Bhubaneswar as a teacher, where she taught psychology for the next 10 years.
On 20th June 1992, Poly started her school Prakrit. Back then she didn’t have the required money to construct a building hence she built cottages and started her school. “It was the first day care school in the city, where students were provided with food and transportation along with studies,” said Poly. They started from pre-nursery with only 17 students and employed five teachers, and charged just Rs 300 for tuition, food, and transportation. “We have always had low fees so that parents from all sections of society can afford quality education for their children,” Poly added.
Three years after establishing the school, the state government allotted one acre of land to start a proper school. “This school was actually an extension of Prakrit, so we started with class five. By now we had a total of 400 students with around eight teachers,” she revealed in an interview. Meanwhile, she continued her job as a teacher in Kamala Nehru College and quit only in 1997.
“The turnaround came when the school got CBSE affiliation for class 10 and 12 in 2002 and 2004 respectively. It was only when I received the CBSE affiliation that I took a loan of Rs 1 crore to build the infrastructure,” she said.
Back in 2015, Poly purchased seven acres of land in Puri and there, Mother’s Public School opened its first branch. They started offering classes from nursery to class nine and enrolled around 300 students. “The school was built over five acres and the rest of the land will be used to build retirement homes for senior citizens,” Poly stated.
For her remarkable contribution to children’s education, Poly had received the National Award for Teachers from the former President Pranab Mukherjee in 2012. Today, Mother’s Public School is one of the best schools in Bhubaneswar. It has a great academic record with cent per cent results year-on-year.
- Mohor Bhattacharjee