While the government is mulling to open model schools for every gram panchayat, a group of concerned citizens are silently working on improving the strength of the schools and have succeeded in networking 700 schools in eight districts, attracting hundreds of parents to voluntarily enroll their wards for these Government run schools.
Giving a tough fight for private run schools, as many as 130 schools in Mandya, 165 in Tumkur, 66 in Hassan, 93 in Kolar, 115 in Chikkabalapur, 41 in Ballari, 35 in Koppal and 55 in Raichur districts are creating a new revolution. There are instances whereseveral government schools have stopped admissions due to over capacity something unheard of in modern times.
The strength of the century-old Government Model Higher Primary School in KR Pet which was just 110 in 2014-15, has now crossed 650 and still admissions are going on. In the same way, other government schools in Madahalli, Malavalli Taluk has seen a sudden jump in admissions by 170 children from 22 previous years. These examples are just a tip of iceberg taken out of a study of 700 schools.
Thanks for the initiative of volunteers of All India forum for Right to Education, along with teachers, alumni of the schools and a few concerned citizens who joining together are striving hard to improve the intakes of the schools by chalking out several initiatives.
Makkala Mane has been set up in this schools where admissions are done for LKG/UKG. Minimum four teachers and care takers are being appointed. A well trained English teacher is also being appointed to the schools to teach primary school children. Even local graduates have been roped in the village to take classes for subjects in their free time. Computers, smart classes have been introduced, which has impressed many villagers.
Updating Committee has been constituted where lecturers, BEO, education department officials, parents, school heads will be inducted as committee members. After holding discussion with parents, teachers at the School Development and Monitoring Committee, plans will be chalked out to improve the strength. The funds are being raised by the government officials, alumni and concerned citizens. The Committee members in the schools will maintain the accounts about the materials being donated, and money spent for the welfare of the schools.
'Our efforts to improve the schools has yielded good reults. Infact we are sending back parents stating that the admission for LKG has crossed 80,” these were the general words when contacted few schools head masters.
KR Pet Government Model Higher Primary School Head Master Suresh said: Villagers from surrounding villages are thronging to our school seeking admission, with overwhelming response we have stopped the admissions. For LKG we have received 108 admissions and UKG 100 admissions. Already 423 students have been enrolled from 1st to 7th standard, and still some students are waiting for TC. Four teachers are being deputed and salary is being paid by the Committee.
Pandavapura Assistant Commissioner Dr HL Nagaraj said that the response for government schools has gone up in schools shortlisted by the forum. We are also concentrating on centenary schools such as Fresh Rocks Schools in Pandavapura and Higher Primary School at Lakshmi Sagar, Pandavapura, which has less strength.
KR Pet Block Education Officer ST Javaregowda said that Uniforms, books and all other facilities on the lines of private schools are being given to the children at free of cost. There is a drastic rise in strength of the schools, networked through Forum and the strength has come down in surrounding private schools.
Parents Anitha and Madappa from Malavalli who have enrolled their wards to the schools said: 'In a drastic way, lot of changes has took place in the school down the years. We have enrolled one kid for LKG from this year, and another for 3rd standard taking TC from a private school. Discipline, uniform and other facilities are been taken care.'
'We are raising funds at our risk from public only with the good intention to improve the school strength. Donors provide physical amenities to the children, including books, desks, and are taking initiative to construct toilets,' said Mutturaj, State Convenor of Forum.
What should be done:
As per the research carried out by the Forum, Citing Indiscipline and non availability proper amenities parents are reluctant to admit their wards for government schools and this is a major drawback.
“Maximum support needed by government is not given. New buildings with sophisticated rooms should be constructed. Kitchen room, sports room, up gradation of play ground is needed. By improving infrastructure, facilities strength can be increased. If government provided sufficient support, we definitely enroll to the government school,” says Ramachandra concerned citizens.
Association member and lecturer Vasu said: 'We have shortlisted 2500 government schools in State to improve the strength by next year, of which already we have covered 700. By distributing leaflets we are conducting campaign. An average 12,000 old students are being brought under one plat form at KR Pet School, and an donation of more than Rs 7 lakh has been collected.'
How schools are selected:
Neglected schools particularly where people were frustrated with rudeness of private schools but still were interested to enroll wards for such schools were chosen. The people form a network and intimate about such schools.