Monday, March 11, 2013

A government school that blazes a trail

A government school that blazes a trail

BREAKING STEREOTYPES: With committed teachers and an atmosphere conducive to learning, even students from private schools opt to study at the Basaveshwaranagar Government High School. Photo: Karan Ananth
Here’s one group of ministers that takes its work seriously: at the Basaveshwaranagar Government High School, children with bright young faces dressed in crisp cream uniforms uphold their respective portfolios with sincerity. If you walk into the Basaveshwaranagar Government High School at lunchtime, you are likely to find Naveen Kumar, the school’s Food Minister, delegating work to the Principal Secretary. “I ensure that the food is provided to all the students and ensure that there is no wastage,” says this student.
This school is a refreshing change from the stereotypical government school, and with its clean, green environment, it seems extremely conducive to learning.
D.A. Sreedevi, the school’s headmistress, commands respect and has won many admirers, not only among teachers and students in the school, but also from residents in the area who say the school is a “crown to the locality”.
Sreedevi says she is lucky to have committed teachers. “We have well-qualified teachers, some of whom are also State-level resource persons. They are always willing to implement new techniques or introduce changes in the school for the benefit of the students.”

In exam mode

March is a hectic time for students as well as teachers of the school, as the SSLC exams are scheduled then. During that month, Class 10 students come to school at 9 a.m. and classes go on till 4 p.m., after which students go home and return at 6 p.m.
Shivakumar B.S., the Hindi teacher said, “We make the students learn a particular subject until 8.30 p.m. After a half-hour dinner break, students are expected to study any subject of their choice till 10.30 p.m.”
The rigorous routine does not end there. Students sleep on the school premises and wake up by 4.45 a.m. “To help them deal with the pressure, we make them practice yoga and breathing exercises early in the morning,” Shivakumar added.
He also stated that these efforts were clearly reflected in the results. In 2011, the school secured 61 per cent passes and in 2012, the pass percentage jumped to 83.

Support continues

Shivakumar says their relationship with the students does not end after children pass out of the school: “If the parents of a child are not willing to send them to college, we contact donors and ask them to sponsor the child’s education.”

Popular choice

Several students from private schools have opted to study here. “Our school has become very popular. During admissions, there is a long queue at our school. There are several students who come not only from Basaveshwaranagar, but also from Kamakshipalya, Agrahara Dasarahalli to study at our school,” says a beaming Rakshit S, a student.
Teachers divide students into groups and “adopt the children”, as the headmistress puts it, playing the role of counsellor.
Sreedevi added, “To improve the academic performance of the student, it is important to understand not only the academic problems of the child. We also need to be sensitive to their personal problems.”
Seeing the commitment and enthusiasm of the teachers, several organisations and individual donors have come forward to help the school meet its infrastructure requirements.
A group of volunteers also comes to assist teachers after school hours on Saturday to help students who have learning disabilities.

‘There is plenty to do’

Despite having received appreciation from many, Sreedevi is not satisfied, and says that there is plenty of work left to do. “My next goal is to help teachers integrate technology in their teaching. Apart from that, I have also been trying to encourage teachers to study further.”
When asked about the reason for her enthusiasm, she simply says, “I am glad that I have been posted to a school like this where I can give back to society.”

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