‘Train’ takes kids on a learning curve

It is 8 am on a Monday. Back from the weekend break, students race to grab the best seats in the dark blue ‘coaches’ that have come to define Indian Railways. Some hang out of the ‘compartments’.
‘Train’ takes kids on a learning curve

UDUPI ; It is 8 am on a Monday. Back from the weekend break, students race to grab the best seats in the dark blue ‘coaches’ that have come to define Indian Railways. Some hang out of the ‘compartments’, egging on the laggards to join them.The Government Higher Primary School at Nagoor, along the Kambadakone stretch in Kundapur taluk, provides a fun-filled experience in the journey of learning. Here, the outer walls of classrooms have been painted like passenger compartments of a train and the verandah is the ‘platform’ where students hang out. When they come out of the classroom, it is as if they are alighting from a train. The head teacher’s room has been painted like a locomotive.

Bharath, a Class 6 student, says ‘‘Coming to school every single day can be quite boring. But this makeover makes it fun to attend classes.” Dhanush, another Class 6 student, says he longed for vehicle facility to come to school. ‘‘But now I am happy as my school building itself looks like a train’’ he adds with a smile.

With the number of children in government schools dwindling with every passing year, this attempt has been made to attract more children to the school. ‘‘Children are always fascinated by trains and enjoy travelling in them. Government school buildings need to become attractive for students to have a sense of pride,’’ Vishwanath Poojary, head teacher of the school and the man behind the idea says.

The higher primary school was established in 1973. In the beginning, there were about 300 children but the number reduced drastically over the years and, in the academic year 2015-16, only seven students remained. Now 20 children are studying in this school. So the teachers came up with the novel idea to increase the student strength.

The school has classes from Class 1 to 7 and has three teachers. There are various amenities like E-learning, Edusat, clean drinking water (provided by donors) and reading corner in every classroom. However, the dip in number of children has been a cause for concern. The teachers, who took up the challenge to increase student strength, have adopted the method followed by a Kerala school to attract more students.

Vishwanath Poojary says ‘‘I came across some information on the internet about a school in Kerala where they changed its design to make it look like a train to attract more students and were successful in their mission. Our school building is L- shaped and it was more convenient to be designed as a train. An art teacher of Uppunda helped us achieve this.”

“The transformation of the building was completed on Republic Day this year and parents, alumni as well as residents of nearby areas have appreciated the new design and the effort. Children coming to school are happier than before and that’s what we wanted. If the student strength increases, then our efforts will have borne fruit’’ he says.“We also have planned door-to-door visits by teachers to convince people to send their children to this government school. Parents have to recognize the efforts put in by the teachers and support the school administration, he adds.

Leading from the front
Head teacher Vishwanath Poojary is also president of the Association of Higher Primary School Teachers of Byndoor education block. The exercise to redesign the school building cost `36,000 which he shelled out from his own pocket. “I thought some new idea should be incorporated to renovate the school building. I searched in internet and found that a school in Kerala was painted like a train. So I shared this idea with the education department officials and the SDMC members. They all appreciated this idea and soon we began to work,’’ he says.

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The New Indian Express