The youth who fought off anti-social elements and encroachers, feel that the institution has now been saved, and should be developed into an ideal school for the area.
By A Staff Writer
If someone visited this school three years ago, he would have written its future off. The impressive building stands on nearly an acre plot of land opposite the KIMS Hospital in the busy Kalasipalyam area of Bengaluru. This Urdu medium school is said to have 1,500 girls on its rolls and 17 teachers a quarter century ago. But the strength had dwindled to a mere 15 in 2013. The impressive Indo-Saracenic edifice had developed cracks from which sprouted trees of all varieties. The powerful institutions around had a prying eye over the property and were approaching the powers that be to sanction the premises to them.
But thanks to the well-meaning youth of the area, it is back to life. The Government Urdu Higher Primary School Kalasipalyam hums with activity today. The strength of the students has gone up to nearly 170 and some activism by an Education Coordinator of the Department of Public Instructions (DPI) has revived its fortunes.
What brought the turnaround? Old residents of the area had witnessed the gradual irrelevance of the school to the community around. English medium schools had mushroomed up in the vicinity and most Muslim families in the area had switched over to them. The language policy of the Government dictated that primary education should be imparted in mother tongue medium in Government Schools, hence the irrelevance. Yet the premises and the grandiose old building”owner’s pride and neighbour’s envy”were urging action from the locals.
It was around 2009 that some youth set up the Hind Citizen Welfare Trust. Old records tracing the history of the school to 1946 showed that the school had been started as a Model school. It imparted coaching from first to seventh standard i.e., a Higher Primary School. According to the Trustees, there are no definite clues as to when it was actually established. It is presumed that the history goes back to at least two more decades.
Mr. Afsar Pasha, a local youth, took some active interest and gathered some volunteers to blow a new soul into the musty corridors. Aware of the encroachments and threats to bite off even more chunks from its land, they raised pucca compound walls to protect the property. A survey revealed that there were slums at some distance where no schools existed. A kind-hearted business man offered them a mini bus for just Rs. 75,000 in order to ferry kids from those settlements. The massive mortar structure was refurbished by filling cracks, reinforcing the leaky roof with layers of concrete and waterproofing material. They even laid a marble flooring. The civil work itself cost them over Rs. 25 lakh which were raised through donations. They even laid a steel structure for construction of an auditorium behind the main building on the vacant land in order to use the same for indoor games and other events. The task remains unfinished. However, only eight of the 11 rooms could be readied for use as they ran short of funds.
English Coaching Reinforced
Looking at the enthusiasm of the local community, the Educational Coordinator, Sajid Ali too chipped in. A few good teachers were posted in the school by the Department. English language coaching was reinforced. E-learning was introduced and computers were brought in to give the kids, visual experience. The Trust appointed three more teachers and took upon itself their annual salaries. The trust invested Rs. 8 lakh into construction of four toilets each for boys and girls. They also provide uniforms to the students. The Mohsin Shariff Charitable Trust supplies the midday meals.
Shabbir Ahmed, Cluster Resource Person for the School, says the Department is now willing to sanction English medium from 6th standard and onwards which is likely to enhance the school in the estimation of the community. Currently, English is also being taught through remedial, a coaching centre.
An Ideal School
An Urdu Hall with facilities for auditorium and accommodation for delegates is also being constructed in the front portion within the premises at a cost of Rs. 25 lakh. This will offer the children and the staff, facilities for organizing programmes. Afsar says, the immediate task is to complete the hall in the backyard which is meant for holding indoor sports and other such events. The youth who fought off anti-social elements and encroachers, feel that the institution has now been saved, and should be developed into an ideal school for the area as it offers ample space for enhancing the enrolment even to 5,000 students. If the community could help the youth, the place can become a thriving institution providing ideal coaching to thousands of students in the vicinity.
For more details, contact Afsar Pasha of Hind Citizen Welfare Trust-98440-42891, Shabbir Ahmed-99644-06655.