Ranjanna Sircilla: Children in this weaving town play the train game by running in a line and singing “chuk chuk rylu vasthondi (the train is coming)”. Only they do this in school, which is in the form of a train.
The government school building at Veernapalli in Sircilla has been remodelled to look like a train, and is named the Telangana Express.
The classrooms look like bogies from the outside, and children have fun pretending to be passengers.
In an effort to attract new students and retain the existing ones, teachers and headmasters are giving a facelift to schools, often spending their own money. This follows dropping enrolment in government schools and tough competition from private and corporate schools even in the mandal headquarters and villages.
Some anganwadis also have been refurbished with wall paintings to attract children.
The Telangana Express train school in Veernapalli has improved attendance while sending out a message to the people that even government schools are moving at the speed of express trains these days.
The building is painted like a locomotive engine followed by coaches and appears to be standing on the platfarm and attracts even parents and villagers. Students wave out to others through the windows and doors of the train.
Painted on the “coaches” are messages like “Life is like a staircase”. The Telangana Express in real life connects Hyderabad with Rajanna Sircilla.
Class IV student Rahul said he felt that he was attending class in a railway coach which had stopped. He said he was thrilled to come to school regularly as felt he was boarding a train.
The initiative was taken by minister K.T. Rama Rao who represents Sircilla in the Assembly. The school was given the facelift with corporate social fesponsibility funds.
School in-charge headmaster Bhukya Gajan said students come to school regularly attracted by the concept of train school and modern class rooms with specific paintings. More students are now interested in studying in government schools and the attendance has increased since the facelift.
Mr Naroju Chandu of Gabhiraopet mandal, who designed the Telanganan Express, said he had painted many school buildings and anganwadis. For the Veernapalli school he chose to make a train of the school and converted the premises into a railway platform as the minister wanted to make an unique impression.
He said that he painted the school with the help of photographs of trains. He came to know of a similar school building in Alwar, Rajasthan, but said his project was unique.
Mr Chandu said he had painted the walls of school buildings and anganwadis in four villages adopted by Mr Rama Rao and 15 others in various places in the Sircilla constituency. He said that the cost of work at each school was between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh. So far, the minister and respective mandal parishad development officers had provided funds.
However, there are many schools in dilapidated condition in Old Karimnagar and Adilabad districts and students attend classes risking their lives. These too deserve attention.