From shed to concrete school, thanks to a teacher

From shed to concrete school, thanks to a teacher

Pressilla with alumni of her school

A shed with a leaking asbestos sheet roof, a small group of students and just two teachers who had to fight against odds to retain the students.

These were just some of the challenges Pressilla Shanta Kumari, an award-winning government teacher had to face. Pressilla and Biradar, a physical education teacher from Bengaluru, were awarded the state’s best teacher award.

The Government Higher Primary School at Purnapura near Mathikere in Bengaluru North that she joined 22 years ago, is now made of concrete and bricks and boasts 200 students and six teachers, thanks to her efforts.

Pressilla recollects that when she was transferred to this school from another government school in Hesarghatta, there were 17 students and two teachers including her. It was a Herculean task to teach students with no amenities.

“I remember. As there was only one room in this shed, one of us had to take classes outside. If it rained, we had no choice but to conduct classes in the portico,” she said. Pressilla is currently serving as the principal in this school.

She told DH that the only way she could get better facilities was to increase the number of children and hence, she started channelising her efforts towards this two years after she joined work.

Enrolling students

“I would go with the other teachers and visit households. The area houses a slum. Parents were mostly uneducated and hence had to be made aware of a need for sending their children to schools. I made it a point to ensure that these children were back in school,” she recollected.

With no toilets, students here had to rush out of the class. All that was there in the name of furniture was a single table and two chairs, she added.

She said that it was after convincing donors to help with funds that the school finally got a facelift.

“Lakshmanappa a local, donated land while the scientist and former MP Raja Ramanna gave funds for the construction. Hence, we managed to get a concrete building,” she said.

Midday meals, she said, were provided much before the government’s scheme was launched.

Pressilla with alumni of her school

“I realised that many children who had come to school did not even have a meal a day. I got that as arranged and had a menu prepared to cater to their required nutrition. Donors helped fund this as well,” she added.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox