Natco Zilla Parishad High School
Natco Zilla Parishad High School

Read and Right

Located in a village that is chock full of migrant workers because of heavy industrialisation in the area, many students like Malla are from poor families.

Raju Malla, a Class VII student at the Natco Zilla Parishad High School in Kothur village near Hyderabad, is proud of his school. “I love coming to school because it is spacious and comfortable,” he explains.

Located in a village that is chock full of migrant workers because of heavy industrialisation in the area, many students like Malla are from poor families.

They live in cramped and temporary housing; open spaces in a school is a cherished escape. While the school has been around since 1956, last year, Natco Trust (the CSR arm of Hyderabad-based pharma firm Natco) reconstructed it as a new 17,000 sq ft three floor building that started functioning last year.

All three floors combined house 15 rooms. The building is a load-bearing exposed masonry structure without plaster or paint. Architect Sudhir Reddy says, “We used local material and local workers, so that they could feel pride in the fact that indigenous materials were appropriate to build the school.”

With flowing indoor spaces, the school building is embellished with local architectural motifs and practices. The jaali-clad walls let in diffused light, and doesn’t hinder air circulation during power cuts. The tandoor stone flooring made from robust, locally available material, needs little maintenance.

Sudhir Reddy
Sudhir Reddy

Swathi Kantamani, Head of CSR at Natco, says, “All the infrastructure we created serves a purpose—a well equipped modern staff room for teachers and well-ventilated rooms that encourage students to focus on their studies.”

Unlike the cramped, moribund structures most village schools are, the school that Natco built belongs to the milieu comfortably; its 500-odd students coming from various backgrounds stream through the rustic gates each morning clad in bright uniforms. Its warm, earthy tones blend with the surrounding landscape, creating the security of familiarity in the children.

Gayatri Telkapally, the Telugu teacher at the school, says that the improved facilities has attracted more children to enrol, “I have worked in government schools for over two decades and have never seen a place like this. Working toilets on the premises led to more girl students.” Such good infrastructure also helps government schools to attract and retain good teachers.

Project Zero, a study at Harvard University directly correlates effective learning spaces with schools that provide good ventilation, adequate furnishings and access to sanitation facilities. It is on the same page with Principal Angoor, “Open learning spaces foster development and creativity. There is enough space here for students to play, do group activities and challenge the notion of static learning.” Given its growing impact, the school has become a template for education in the Rangareddy district, transforming the lives of countless students.

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The New Indian Express
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