Bengaluru: As the students of Government Lower Primary School (GLPS) Ravindranagar sang their prayer at the morning assembly on Thursday, the young faces were euphoric to see a total makeover of their once dilapidated school building and campus.
Along with the refurbished school’s inauguration on Thursday, a nationwide government school rejuvenation programme by The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) was also launched by the scion of Mysuru royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar.
Titled ‘School and Student Transformation – A Model School Initiative’, the project aims to build 100 model schools pan India in the first phase and scale up to 500 in the second phase.
Elaborating on the project, TAPF CEO Shridhar Venkat said like GLPS Ravindranagar other schools will also be equipped with colouful and innovative compound walls, safe food storage facility, hand wash stations, zero maintenance bio-toilets and play area.
The model school initiative at GLPS Ravindranagar has been supported by Shyamala Prabhu and Kavita Shastry from the Institute of Indian Interior Designers and organisations such as Let’s Endorse, Smile Charitable Trust, and The Aravani Art Project.
In a special interaction with Deccan Chronicle, Yaduveer said that infrastructural development of government schools was essential to help students benefit better from the system. Excerpts:
Experts point out offering better opportunities for students in government schools as well keeping the system of public education alive. How can this be done?
Going forward from initiatives like the School and Student Transformation model put forth by TAPF, encouraging children to grow up in a sustainable environment and ensuring they get access to experiential learning platforms is important. A transformation towards getting better in all ways – in terms of education, infrastructure and advanced learning prospects is essential for government schools to be more appealing to students and parents.
Do you believe beginning English medium classes or schools in the public education sector would improve government school enrolments and thereby quality of education offered as well?
Merely changing the medium to English would not improve the system at a larger scale. Even though learning English would help students get recognised as a global citizen, one cannot neglect the local language and culture and hence learning in Kannada is equally important. Knowledge in more languages right from the formative years is always good as it helps better brain development. However, a system to offer both Kannada and English mediums and either of them as a second language should be in place. The final call should be left open to each student/parent catering to their individual needs.
Will you prefer sending your son to a government school for education?
That will be a matter of practicality and we’ll take a call depending on what is right for him at that point of time. He’s just one year old now. I’ve seen several government schools that are very good and way better than their private counterparts with an enabled and progressive outlook. Good things take time and hopefully with such initiatives, government schools will retain its past glory. To be very honest, we haven’t given this much thought as to how we should have already.