Karnataka

Local effort pushes Agumbe school’s student strength from 19 to 77

The Government Higher Primary School at Honnethalu near Agumbe in Thirthahalli taluk has got a student strength of 76.

The Government Higher Primary School at Honnethalu near Agumbe in Thirthahalli taluk has got a student strength of 76. | Photo Credit: PRAKASH HASSAN

The Government Higher Primary School at Honnethalu near Agumbe in Thirthahalli taluk, in the last four years, has seen student strength go up fourfold, thanks to the efforts of the School Development and Monitoring Committee and the villagers.

Of 170 households in the village, none send their children to private schools. Now there are 77 students, including 26 in pre-primary classes. Four years ago the strength had come down to as low as 19.

The SDMC headed by Nityanand A.G. took steps to improve the school in terms of infrastructure facilities and teaching quality. The efforts were supported by donors and villagers.

“When the students’ strength was 19, there were two permanent teachers for the school. Even after the strength improved, the number of permanent teachers remains at two. However, we hired five guest teachers to ensure students do not suffer,” said Mr. Nityanand. The committee with the help of donors pays ₹7,000 each for guest teachers. It operates three vehicles to pick up and drop off students from neighbouring villages. “We are committed to ensuring all possible facilities in the school so that parents should not lose hopes on us,” said Prasanna Gowda, a member of the committee.

Besides the regular teaching, they hire teachers to teach spoken English, music, dance, drama and other skills. “Many poor parents residing in villages far from our school are sending their children to our school because we are providing them quality education,” said Mr. Nityanand.

The Government Lower Primary School at Donihaklu near Agumbe in Thirthahalli taluk has only two students.

The Government Lower Primary School at Donihaklu near Agumbe in Thirthahalli taluk has only two students. | Photo Credit: PRAKASH HASSAN

Antige-Pantige

Surekha D. Shet, the headmistress, has all appreciation for the cooperation from the SDMC and villagers. “Without their support, the strength could not have been improved,” she said.

The villagers, during Deepavali, make use of the community ritual – Antige-Pantige – to raise funds for the school. As part of the custom, a group of people take a lamp from the temple to light lamps at each family. On this occasion, the committee members raise funds from the residents for the school from each household.

“Every family has responded to our appeal. Similarly, Carework Foundation, Srijaya Charitable Trust of Addagadde, Hombuja Mutt, Dharmasthala Rural Development Project and Home Minister Araga Jnanendra have helped us maintain the school so well. We have renovated the building and improved facilities by spending about ₹40 lakh in the recent years,” said Mr. Nityanand.

Picture of contrast

While this school is flourishing with good strength and better infrastructure facilities, about 7 km away a lower primary school at Donihaklu is a picture of contrast.

It has only two students. Rakesh R. and Kashi from Hasimane, a habitat of Hasalaru, a tribal community, have enrolled for Class 2 and they are taught by Ashwini A.V., an M.Com graduate, hired by the Education Department as a guest teacher. A midday meal worker cooks for these two kids every day. The school set up in 1959 is on the verge of closure with no students.

Vacant posts

Unlike the school at Honnetalu, this school does not enjoy either the support of the State government or the local people. The department has shifted the permanent teacher to another school. According to an official in the department, 47 teachers’ posts were vacant in Agumbe Hobli alone. There are no teachers for eight lower primary schools.

Welcome to our School on Wheels
Bengaluru has got a Montessori School on Wheels, which is an initiative to get early learning to the doorstep of marginalised children aged 2.5 to 6 years who reside in slums within the city. The aim is to decrease school dropout rates and increase school admissions. | Video Credit: K Murali Kumar


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2022 10:23:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/thanks-to-local-effort-this-agumbe-school-has-grown-from-strength-to-strength/article65536601.ece