The 150-year-old Shri Marikamba Government High School in Sirsi town is perhaps one of the few government high schools in the entire state to witness heavy rush for admissions.
The school is going from strength to strength crossing several milestones in academics, sports and cultural fields. Though private English medium schools in the region compete with each other in attracting parents, the first choice of parents for their wards has been Shri Marikamba High School as they are convinced about the school’s good infrastructure, besides quality education. The history of this institution is interesting. Back in 1865, the British commissioned an Anglo-Vernacular school here to cater to the requirements of students in Sirsi, Halyal and Kumta.
The Karnataka Gazetteer has a reference to the background and history of the school. After the Independence, as part of the formation of urban local bodies, a town municipal council came into existence in Sirsi. The municipal council renamed the school after Goddess Marikamba, the chief deity of the famous Marikamba Temple in Sirsi. In 1971, Shri Marikamba High School came under a new government administration and was renamed as Shri Marikamba government high school. In 1983, Pre-University courses were added to the school. It was again renamed as Shri Marikamba Government Pre-University College.
On an average, 800 students seek admissions for Class 8 here every year. Not just students from villages in the neighbourhood, but also those from outside districts vie for a seat in the school. There is a race for admissions to Class 9 as well. “The school receives over 300 applications for admissions to Class 9 every year,” says vice-principal Nagaraj Naik.
Facilities such as smart classrooms have added to the quality of teaching. Students make good use of the well-stacked library which has a rare collection of titles on literature and the Atal Tinkering Lab that creates an environment of scientific temperament. Parents feel that the holistic approach to learning and teaching with equal preference to academics, sports and cultural activities make the school a preferred choice among students and parents. Students are trained in their field of interest and given support to excel.
As a result, students of the school have got top honours in academics, cultural activities and sports competitions.
“Every year, we get good results in SSLC. Our students have been emerging victorious in sports and cultural competitions. We’ve been consistently emerging victorious and bagging Veeragani prize at the taluk-level Kho Kho tournament. In science and drama competitions too, our students have been winning the top prize at the state level for the last three years,” an upbeat Nagaraj Naik explains.
This year, the strength of the school is 1471. The Kannada medium has 774 students, while the English medium has 697 students. The school has 39 staff, including teaching and non-teaching. There are 10 teachers for the Kannada section while the English section has 12 teachers. Over 1,000 students study in the PUC section.
“We are happy about the school’s approach to learning. I am glad that my daughter studies in this government school,” Bindu Hegde Hakremane, says.
“What really made me join the school are facilities and teaching standards,” remarks Chaitra, a Class 8 student. According to her, a large playground, hot midday meal and encouragement by teachers to participate in various activities bring out the hidden talents of students.
Snehashree, who moved here from a private school, rates the Marikamba School better than her previous school. She says top-quality teaching and facilities make the school stand apart.
This historical institution has been an eyewitness to several developments that shaped the life of people in the region. Besides hosting classes, the campus has seen elections and civil service aspirants writing competitive exams. In recent years, the school building is used to store ballot boxes and electronic voting machines as well.
The famous alumni of the school include Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad, former chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde and former state election commissioner M R Hegde.
Shri Marikamba High School has clearly established that parents prefer government schools if top-class facilities and quality education are provided.
(Translated by Jagadish Angadi)