Kerala village comes together to quadruple school enrollments

Last June when schools reopened, Government Junior Basic School (GJBS) in Peral grabbed the headlines.

Published: 04th June 2017 01:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2017 04:06 AM   |  A+A-

Students pose with their teacher at the Government Junior Basic School (GJBS) in Peral

Express News Service

KASARGOD:  Last June when schools reopened, Government Junior Basic School (GJBS) in Peral grabbed the headlines. The tile-roof of its three classrooms collapsed in the early monsoon rains.

Fortunately, it was a holiday. Kumbla gram panchayat, which manages the school, has not fixed it yet. This June, too, the 70-year-old school is in news, but for a ‘stunning’ reason.

GJBS, Peral - classified by the Department of Education as uneconomic - saw a 400 per cent rise in student enrolment in class 1, the highest in the district, said deputy director of education Suresh Kumar E K. “Across the district, government-run schools saw a 30 to 40 per cent increase in enrolment. But Peral school’s performance is stunning,” he said.

The primary school enrolled 64 students in class 1 this year, a sharp rise from 16 last year. In all, the school has 170 students this year from last year’s 74 children, said headmaster Gurumurthy M, who joined on Friday.

Though neglected by the panchayat, what changed the fate of the school is the concerted effort of the people of the village, youth clubs, teachers and parents, said PTA president Mohammed Peral. “We formed a squad and went to all the houses in the village three times,” he said.

The parents told the squad they preferred English medium schools and expected schools to have own bus. “After a meeting with authorities, we assured the parents in the second visit the school will start English medium section provided we get 52 children in class 1,” he said. Besides, Manjeshwaram MLA P B Abdul Razak has now offered to buy a bus for the school.

An organisation affiliated to the CPI, adopted the school as part of its ‘Munnettam’ (Progress) project to uplift the children. It introduced workshops on English and Maths, and started Karate classes for children.

To get more enrolment, the PTA president knew he should make the residents feel the school belonged to them. “So we advanced the 70th annual day celebration by one year,” he said.

Around 1,500 people attended the event. The performance kids was livestreamed and another 1,800 people watched the event online, he said. 

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