Innovative teachers help retain students, attract more from English schools

At a time when there is a decline in students in Kannada medium schools and a clamour for English medium schools on the rise, Government High School and Government Higher Primary School, both Kannada medium, in Heskethur village, 32 km from Udupi, have not only bucked the trend, but also shown what dedication and innovations on part of the teachers can achieve.

Though there are English medium schools nearby, these two schools have held their own. The teachers of these two schools are proud of the fact that not a single child in this village goes to an English medium schools, despite their school buses plying through it.

The teachers of the schools in Heskathur have excelled not just in teaching the curriculum, but also encouraging the students in extra-curricular activities.

The students of Government High School bring out a monthly journal called ‘Na Bare, Nee Odu’. Every article written is evaluated not just by the teacher, but a friend, a parent and a citizen of the village. “This not only gives joy to the parents but also improves the creativity of the students,” said Headmaster Vinayak Naik.

The students also do project reports on various topics such tap water, village sanitation and others. “Unlike students in other schools who simply download information from the internet for their projects, our students visit the places and get first-hand knowledge,” said Babu Shetty, mathematics teacher.

In addition, these students participate in activities such as horticulture. “Most of the vegetables for the mid-day meal scheme are grown by our students in the school garden,” said Jayaprasad, physical education teacher.

This high school, established in 2007, now has 127 students.

It stood first in Kannada and mathematics in Udupi district in 2011-12 and 2012-13 respectively.

It got 100 per cent results in SSLC in 2011-12 and 2013-14, the rest of the years, its results have been not less than 95 per cent.

Public support has also played a vital role in the growth of this school. Its open air stage costing Rs. 5 lakh was built entirely by donation from people.

Studentspeak

The students are all praise for their school. Rajath, who studied from UKG to class 7 in a nearby English medium school, joined this school last year. Now in class 9, he said, “My friends used to tell me about the good teachers here. So I joined here. They taught me so well that my crossover from English to Kannada medium has been a breeze. The teaching here is beyond compare,” he said.

Navyashree Shetty, a class 8 student, said, “I like the project works and writing the journals the most. I am enjoying every moment here.” Supreeta, a class 10 student, said, “I like the fact that we get to participate in so many extra-curricular activities. It is like being in home for me here.”

Problems

Despite all the achievements, this school faces problems. Due to lack of classrooms, class 9 is held in the open air stage. The library functions in a part of class 10, and is separated by a few cupboards. “We have asked the department to sanction three rooms for us and for additional buses on this route,” Mr. Naik said.

Higher primary school

Government Higher Primary School, located separately and established in 1957, bagged the first place in the district and the fourth place in the State for its achievements and innovations, during an assessment done by the Karnataka School Quality Assessment and Accreditation Committee in 2012-13.

“We have separate classrooms for English, science and mathematics so that students do not get bored staying in the same classroom,” said Headmaster Shekhar Kumar. “We require a hall, a library and a computer lab,” he said.

‘Funds will be released’

Ashok Kamath, Education Officer at Department of Public Instruction, said the funds for additional rooms for the high school would be released in the present academic year.