Mangaluru: The government upper primary school at Kookrabettu in Belthangady taluk, about 60 km from Mangaluru, was about to close in 2019, with only 16 students enrolled. However, the concerted efforts of the district administration, with the support of the locals, have helped breathe new life into this institution, with the school now having 112 students. The Grama Vasatavya initiative, the Mane-Mane Beti program launched by the state government has helped officials to familiarize themselves with issues affecting grassroots populations. One such problem that the authorities have been able to solve, much to the delight of the locals, is the revival of the faltering fortunes of the Kookrabettu school.
Over the past three years, the authorities have upgraded the school’s infrastructure to put it on a par with its private counterparts. LKG and UKG classes have been introduced and education is conducted with English and Kannada serving as the medium. Furthermore, the state government has sanctioned a sum of Rs 92 lakh for the construction of a new building for the school which is expected to be completed by June 2023.
President of Sarkari Shale Ulisi Belesi in Kookrabettu, Jayanth Kotian, said the 63-year-old school’s alumni were worried about its future. “With only 16 pupils and zero first class admissions in 2019, villagers and former pupils were worried. While thinking about ways to save our school, we heard about Prakash Anchan from Bantwal who had saved an institution in Daddalkad. Prakash supported us from start to finish. He visited parents in their homes and asked what would motivate them to send their children to a public school. He agreed to meet their demands, and the results are there for all of us. There are now 122 students in the school, and we expect the number of new students admitted to the school to exceed 200 in 2023,” Kotian said.
He said that in addition to three permanent employees, the school had now enlisted five guest teachers, whose salaries were paid by the villagers themselves. “The Sri Durga Charitable Trust in Daddalkad, Bantwal has donated a bus for the school. Students pay a nominal fee for the bus service,” Kotian said, adding that the foundation stone for the new building would be laid on Saturday. .
With funds provided by Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL), toilets have been constructed at the school.
My daughter was enrolled in a private school in Venur and had difficulty getting around between school and home. I heard about the Kookrabettu school and registered it here, and it is educated by very good teachers.
-Sujatha | Mother
My eldest daughter studies in a private school, where I spend Rs 35,000 a year on school fees. I was considering sending my youngest daughter to private school too, when I came across Kookrabettu School, and enrolled her there without thinking twice. I must say that my youngest daughter is doing much better than her older sister.
– Balakrishna Bangera | Dad