Deekshith D V
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (DV)
Mangaluru, Sep 29: The state has of late recorded several instances of closure of Kannada medium schools in different parts. Schools may have been closed down due to shortage of teaching personnel or students but the government has failed to provide 'satisfactory' revised remuneration for those who have been appointed guest teachers.
But, in Bantwal post and taluk, there is a school in Ojala of Kula village, which provides remuneration to its appointed guest teachers from the income generated through jasmine cultivation and coconut yield.
We are aware that in the undivided coastal districts, several families have become financially self-reliant due to jasmine cultivation and many have fallen back on its cultivation to balance their financial needs. As there is a huge demand for jasmine grown in the coastal belt, it has become a livelihood for many families in the region.
If there was no jasmine cultivation in Dakshina Kannada, Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School, Ojala, the School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) may had to struggle quite a lot to pay its guest teachers. The school earns Rs 40,000 a year due to jasmine cultivation alone which is used to pay the guest faculty. Until May, there was a good jasmine yield but due to incessant rainfall, the yield has plummeted in the region. When the jasmine yield falls, donors step in to help the school financially and to pay the guest faculty members. Though there are 40 areca nut trees, it is yet to give the yield. Students help in plucking the jasmine flowers which is used by the midday meal workers to tie them into strands.
In 2009-10, the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School, Ojala had only 12 students. Due a shortage of students the school was about to shut down a few years ago. Thanks to their tireless efforts, the teachers embarked on a door-to-door campaign to revive the school as they convinced and cajoled the parents to send their children to school in Ojala. As of now, there are 128 students studying in the school from class 1 to 7.
Though there are good teachers and asphalted roads for children to reach school, there are no vehicles to ferry them. A few students from Kabaka have to cough up Rs 70 to reach the school by auto. But, students are not financially well-off to hire an auto because they do not come from financially sound families. However, as many as 80 students are taking autos to reach the school.
The school SDMC and its teachers have planned to procure two vehicles to carry students to school in the morning and drop them back home in the evening. One vehicle makes four trips in a day. Parents, SDMC members, and donors financially help to fuel the vehicle. Another vehicle makes six trips in a day. Moreover, this school was constructed in the year 1967. Before, constructing a single new room from MLA quota, all the seven classes were conducted in a single hall.
Speaking to daijiworld.com, Headmaster Sanjeeva M said, "The school needs one more vehicle to carry children to school. Fueling vehicles has become a burden to the poor parents of these students. The need for another vehicle was brought to the notice of former MLA of Puttur. However, this has not resulted in any positive result. Though geographically the school falls under Bantwal taluk, electorally it comes under Puttur taluk."
The teachers are likely to meet the current MLA in the coming days and put forth the demand for another vehicle to ferry the students to school. Headmaster Sanjeeva recalled the support that the school got from villagers, donors and the education department officials in shaping the future of the students.
He also added that the construction of one more room is under progress which will be turned into a classroom. “We have a dream of constructing a reinforced cement concrete (RCC) building for the school in the future,” he added.
Sanjeeva M, Willma Sequira, Jacintha Lobo, Nethravathi, and Kushala Kumari are the staff appointed by the government. Navyashree, Chandrakala, and Poornima are serving as guest faculty members to teach for Social, Maths, English, and Computer Science.
Those who impart training in Karate, dance, music, and yoga visit the school once in a week to teach them.
Rotary Club, Puttur, Nirmithi Kendra, Vasuki Sports Club, Ojala and Vishnumurthy Yuvakavrunda Kandadka have also been supporting the school in their various initiatives.