School that produced a Bharat Ratna faces closure

School that produced a Bharat Ratna faces closure

Despite boasting of alumni like scientist Bharat Ratna CNR Rao and superstar Rajnikanth, the 80-year-old Acharaya Patashala High School (only the State Board syllabus) at NR Colony in Basavanagudi have seen dwindling admissions over the years and might lead to its closure. 

The school, that once attracted scores of students from south Bengaluru, now has only 235 students (2015). The school is affiliated to the state board and teaches Kannada and English medium.  Established in 1935 as a primary school, the boys’ high school was started in 1942 and a girls’ high school in 1946. The two functioned as separate units till 2007 when they were merged due to dwindling admissions. The primary section was closed around this time due to the same reasons, said H A Mahadaiah, headmaster of the school.   

“When I joined the boys’ high school as headmaster in 1996, there were 638 students and 12 sections in the boys’ high school and around 600 students with nine sections in the girls’ section. Our teachers have tried to meet parents and asked them to admit students to the school. While some have shown interest, others feel they have better options,” added Mahadaiah, who has been associated with the school for over three decades. 

Details obtained from the school show that even till 2007, there were only 462 students. This decreased to 370 in 2008, 327 in 2009, 314 in 2010, 265 in 2011, 274 in 2013 and 265 in 2014. No data is available for 2012. This trend has not gone unnoticed, according to T V Maruthi, president, APS Educational Trust. “The topic to close the school was broached during a meeting; however we are thinking what to do. Nothing has been decided yet. We are incurring huge losses,” he said.  
        Asked about the reasons for the declining admissions, Madhava Rao, a retired teacher who taught mathematics and physics for 19 years, gives a number of reasons. “Parents these days are more aware and interested in the syllabus of other boards which they believe is better than the state board’s. Compared to a few years ago, the number of private schools, which parents feel are more in tune with modern times, have also increased around here,” he said.

 

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