Two teachers at Darul Islam Aided Higher Primary School in Panemangalore, Bantwal taluk, double as drivers ferrying children to school and back, making as many as three trips in the morning and evening.
The motive behind the double role is not to make more money but towards ensuring that the Kannada medium school is no less than any private school. The teachers – including Headmaster Pakruddin B K, Assistant Teacher Nooruddin G M and PT teacher Radhakrishna Nayak – pooled in money to buy a second-hand Ambassador car and an Omni in 2009.
Speaking to DH, Headmaster Pakruddin said the initiative created an interest among parents to enrol the children. “We began the initiative after teachers realised that we had to do something so that children continue to enrol into this school as everyone is attracted to English medium schools. The school had over 300 students in 2007 but gradually the number of admission declined,” he added.
According to teachers, the students are elated with the transportation facility arranged for them to school and back. Majority of the students are from poor economic backgrounds. So, travelling in the car itself is a dream come true for them and they never give a miss to travelling in it.
“After we started transportation facilities for the children, number of children enrolling into the school increased and at present, 183 children are pursuing their education in the school. The school does not collect any fee from the students for transportation facility,” said the headmaster.
Children come from Golthamajalu, Nandavara, Narikombu, Goodinabali, covering around six to seven kilometres. The children from the houses situated nearby come walking. Even if a teacher takes leave, the headmaster ensures that children are picked and dropped without fail.
“We want to keep this school alive for the next generation and we will try in all our efforts,” Pakruddin said.
In addition to the existing six full-time teachers, the headmaster has appointed three teachers, whose expense is looked after by him to ensure that the children get quality education. The teachers, who act as drivers, do not get any additional remuneration. About Rs 1.5 lakh is spent every year on the maintenance of the vehicles and the amount is raised by teachers through a kind of ‘chit fund.’
The old students’ association of the school sponsors uniforms and notebooks for the students.
The school was started by a philanthropist Dr A M Aboobakkar in 1947 and has grown over a period of time.
As the roof of the school building is old and needs to be repaired, the school authorities are trying for fundraiser on Milaap. As the school is situated on the low-lying area, the school gets inundated during every monsoon.