Andhra Pradesh

This Venkatagiri dynasty fort is now a school

The entrance to the fort-turned-school at Pathakamuru village in Prakasam district.

The entrance to the fort-turned-school at Pathakamuru village in Prakasam district.   | Photo Credit: Kommuri Srinivas

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It is attracting students in a big way, thanks to the ‘Mana Badi Nadu Nedu’ scheme

Remnants of a fort in the sleepy village of Pathakamuru in Prakasam district, which is now housing a school, has not only a glorious past but also holds promise for a bright future for the hundreds of students, most of whom are wards of farmers and farm workers.

The fort was once the administrative unit for the kings of the Venkatagiri dynasty, who had ruled these parts during the medieval period and stored the tax collections in it.

The moat surrounding the fort, where crocodiles were reared to guard it, stands testimony to the importance of the heritage structure.

Now, the building is a temple of learning not only for the students of Pathakamuru but also for those from the neighbouring villages such as Botlapalem, Cherukomapalem, Papireddypalem, and Veerayapalem.

English medium

The government’s resolve to improve infrastructure in the State-run schools in phases under the ‘Mana Badi Nadu Nedu’ (our school now and then) programme has triggered reverse migration from the private schools.

The strength of the school has gone up to 396 this year from about 250 the previous year, and the trend is sure to continue as more and more students are excited to study in the English medium from the new academic year.

“We are proud to study in the school,” said a group of students attending the digital classes being conducted under the watchful eyes of headmistress M. Satyavathi.

The school has been maintaining a 100% pass in the SSC examination for the last three years.

“The kings, who ruled these parts from Nellore during the 13th century, were said to have used elephants to level the earth during the construction of the heritage structure,” says a village elder, K. Srinivasa Rao.

“The place was once ridden with poisonous snakes. But it is no longer so as we took up the herculean task of clearing the shrubs,” Ms. Satyavathi, who took charge in 2012, told The Hindu.

New classrooms

“We have forwarded a proposal for construction of four classrooms to shift the 396 students studying in it from the old building as it requires repairs every now and then,” she said.

“The government should start a hostel for more number of students to join the school,” said M. Venkat Reddy, a farmer, whose ward studies in the school.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 10:54:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/a-school-with-a-royal-past-and-a-bright-future/article30189748.ece

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