MANGALURU: A school in Dakshina Kannada, which was supposed to fade into history because of lack of students, has made new history. In 2019, the student strength at Kukrabettu Government Primary School in Marodi village of Belthangady taluk had dropped to just 16. Thanks to the efforts of villagers and Prakash Anchan, president of a committee striving to save and develop government schools, the school now has 180 children.
The school with first to seventh standards was set up 65 years years ago. But four years back, many classrooms were empty without any children. At that point, the alumni of the school contacted Anchan, who is also the chairman of Sri Durga Charitable Trust and who had already revived a school in Bantwal taluk. Together, they came up with a comprehensive plan to save the institution.
First, they formed a committee and asked villagers to pull out their wards from private schools and admit them to the state school. About 40 parents responded positively.
Committee president Jayanth Kotian said that because of their consistent efforts, the school started getting students from not just Marodi, but also from surrounding villages like Peradi, Kashipatna, Kokradi, Savya, Kutluru, Naravi, Shirtadi and others.
The Sri Durga Charitable Trust, which adopted the school, started LKG and UKG to attract more students. Permission was also obtained for English medium classes. Priority was given to quality education by appointing additional honorary teachers. Extracurricular activities like yoga, karate, dance, Yakshagana etc. were encouraged and the trust also arranged a school bus to ferry students from far-off places.
Many other facilities were added with the help of donors. With this, the number of children increased to 80 in 2020 and 120 in 2021. The student strength crossed 140 in 2022. At present, 180 children are studying in the school. It has four permanent teachers, three guest teachers and three honorary teachers, including the headmistress.
To provide digital education to these children from rural parts, a Smart Class facility, costing Rs 2.4 lakh, has been provided to the School by IEEE Advancing Technology for Humanity through its CSR initiative. An eight-room building (about 5,000 square feet) at a cost of Rs 1.10 crore has been constructed with grants from MLA Harish Poonja, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and Rs 2 lakh donation from Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project. The building will be inaugurated on February 17. A well-equipped toilet has been constructed at a cost of Rs 10 lakh under MRPL’s CSR funds.