YOUNG WORLD

School with a vision

SHILPA SEBASTIAN R.

Dancing to folk beats: the children receive all-round education.

Dancing to folk beats: the children receive all-round education.  

BANGALORE

A few kilometres down Hosur Road is Roopena Agrahara village where the Round Table School is situated. Thewhite-washed three-storied building houses airy classrooms and toilets. This school, with a strength of 678 students, had "cent per cent" results in last year's Board exam. The school also offers vocational and computer training. This is a charitable school catering to poor children. These children come from homes that find it difficult to provide them with even one proper meal. Most parents are construction workers, house helps or drivers who earn very little.

Round Tablers Gurjeet Singh, Sudhir Hasija, Dr. Gautam Kodikal, Kayu Dhandoora, Navkesh Batra and others started the school in 1986.

The school is recognised by the SSLC Board and the medium of instruction is Kannada with English and Hindi as the language subjects.

"In the beginning, when I came here as the vice-principal, these children had no knowledge of hygiene. . But with guidance, they have done so well that we are proud of their performance," says Anand Kumar.

The Round Table School provides these children with not just an education but actually takes care of them by providing books, uniforms, and even a well-balanced mid-day meal. "Most of them come from extremely poor backgrounds. When we had our first free medical camp we found that over 50 per cent of the children were suffering from malnutrition. That's when the management decided to provide the afternoon meal," explains Mr. Anand. So the school has a tiny kitchen with a cook who prepares hot food under the supervision of teachers and the management. So, there is variety — bisi bele baat, vegetable upma, pulav and more.

The mid-day meal acts as an incentive encouraging parents to send their children to school, adds Mr. Lala. Senior students take turns to look after the younger ones, even serving them at lunch time and washing their plates for them.

All expenses incurred like the food and books and so on is sponsored by the Round Table or by donations and sometimes even storybooks or a football is sponsored.

But what happens to those who pass out of Std. X, but are unable to study further due to financial constraints? "For those who are really brilliant and can study further, our management has options of funding. And for those who do not wish to study but want to work, we provide vocational training like tailoring," says Mr. Anand.

All work and no play leaves Jack a dull boy, insist members of the Round Table. So, besides books, computers and vocational training, the school regularly organises school trips and some times the Tablers use their contacts to bring in celebrities to interact with these children. Their curriculum also includes drama, dance, and music.

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