It was the first day of the implementation of the government programme titled "Shaalegagi Naavu Neevu: Banni Shalege Hogona", which was trying to involve the community in helping government schools’ progress.

Well-wishers donated chairs, tables, books, and uniforms in at least four government schools on Thursday. It was the first day of the implementation of the government programme titled “Shaalegagi Naavu Neevu: Banni Shalege Hogona”, which was trying to involve the community in helping government schools’ progress. It aims at evaluating the progress made by students in government schools and checks if schools had sufficient infrastructure.

At Government School, Bikarnakatte, Nalin Kumar Kateel, MP, said he would give Rs. 2 lakh and “Swasthi”, the officers’ association of Corporation Bank, donated 50 chairs and 10 desks. In Government High School, Attavar, NV Friends donated water tank and 24 sets of sports dress to primary school children, said Dayawathi, Block Education Officer, Mangalore City.

Prajna Counselling Centre contributed 250 schoolbags of which 50 were given to children at Cascia High School, 50 to those in Chinnara Thangudama, 35 to Little Flower School, Kinnigoli, and the rest to children of single parents and those who were HIV positive, said a source in the centre.

At the Government Higher Primary School, Gandhinagar; Dayananda Pattali, Block Education Officer (BEO), told the children what “Shaalegaagi Naavu Neevu” meant. He said that education of children in government schools could be likened to that of a three-wheeler vehicle, where the wheels represented the children, their teachers and the community, which included officials and SDMCs. He said the children should tell their other friends not to leave school because children listened to their friends more than others.

Teachers said there was no child in their area who was out of school. If that was the case, how was it that Prajna Counselling Centre had identified so many out of school (OOS) children?, said Mr. Pattali.

All the children sat quietly listening to the officials.

Nethravathi, headmistress, Government Higher Primary School, Gandhinagar, told The Hindu that the association of former students had promised to donate dustbins and buckets to the school.

Jalajakshi, President, SDMC, said there were no problems in the school as all requirements were getting funded by donors.

Geetha S, Assistant Project Co-ordinator, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, told the children that they must tell other children not to discontinue attending school. She said that in private schools, students were tense with the pressure of attending tuition classes, and had to face the pressure from parents to do well in studies. However, in government schools, the students enjoyed attending school, unfettered by tuitions but it was the teachers who struggled.

She said that the focus of the programme would be on checking how much each child had learnt.

“We are trying to see what the child has learnt, whether he has just learnt something by rote or whether he has indeed progressed. For example, can he write an application?”, she said. It was meant to evaluate the student and not the teachers. The compiled data about every child’s progress would be placed online.

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