Pakruddin BK, with the students at   Darul Islam Aided Higher Primary School (photo courtesy : Milaap)
Pakruddin BK, with the students at Darul Islam Aided Higher Primary School (photo courtesy : Milaap)

This Mangalore government school teacher drives his students to school to ensure there are no dropouts

Seventy-year-old Darul Islam Aided Higher Primary School in Mangalore is on the verge of closure.Pakruddin B K, a teacher at the school is doing everything he can to keep the school running

The Darul Islam Aided Higher Primary School in Mangalore has suffered major cuts to their government aid in the last few months. In the beginning the school used to receive Rs 12,000 as part of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. This was reduced to Rs 5000 and now the teachers are shelling out money from their own pockets to run the school. 

One such teacher is Pakruddin B K , who has been working in the school for the past 39 years. He along with his colleagues have been doing everything to prevent the complete shut-down of their school. "I was appointed as a government teacher in this school in 1982 and this is my first job. The students who study in the school hail from financially weaker families and almost everything in the school is free. I want to ensure that these services continue to remain free for the students " says Pakruddin, who wants to improve the conditions at his school before his retirement next year. 

Guiding the way: The teachers, Pakruddin B K, Nooruddin and Radhakrishna Nayak together bought two cars to pick and drop their students each day (Photo courtesy: Milaap)

One of the many hurdles that the school currently faces is the dipping student strength plus the lack of proper infrastructure. With parents preferring their wards to be sent to English medium schools, there is a lot of pressure on the teachers to retain the students. "A lot of parents are unwilling to send their children to our school, instead they send them to the nearest English medium school because of its proximity and since their facilities are better. To add to the woe, we also face severe staff shortage," says Pakruddin who often teaches more than one subject at the school.

In order to prevent children from dropping out of the school, Pakruddin along with his colleagues, Nooruddin and Radhakrishna Nayak pooled in enough money to buy two cars to pick and drop students from their homes to the school, "We bought an Ambassador and an Omni to pick up students who stay 8-10 km away. We drive this ourselves and each day as many as 88 students avail the service," Pakruddin says.

Through their effort, though the students are attending their classes on a regular basis, the maintenance of the vehicles is an added burden to the already cash-strapped school, "Both the cars require high maintenance and each year we have to spend as much as Rs 2 lakh on them. We have no other option but to continue this service as the parents are more willing to send their children to our school and the children are also more eager to come to the school," Pakruddin says.

Though the government has been providing free notebooks and midday meals, Pakruddin says that it is never enough, "This is a 70-year-old building with broken roofs and cracked floors. During the rainy season, the classrooms usually leak and the school sometimes floods because of which classes will need to be called off. This year too, the students and teachers had to hoist the flag on the roadside during the Independence day celebrations because of the floods." Pakruddin says.

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