Published: 28th February 2019
This government school teacher in Koravi invested money from his pocket to provide electricity and water to his students
We track the journey of Mohan Kumar, a teacher who brought electricity and water to the Government Higher Primary School in Koravi and paid for it out of his own pocket
Meet Mohan Kumar, a government school teacher from Raichur district who has been working tirelessly to improve the standards of Government Higher Primary School. His several initiatives like setting up a computer lab, making sure there is a steady supply of electricity and water, planting saplings and building huts in the school ensured that it looks no less than a private school. A point to note is that unlike other government schools in Karnataka, this school didn't lack students, but it did lack facilities like drinking water and clean toilets. Hence, children skipped classes regularly. Mohan felt it was necessary for him to find a solution to this problem.
What drew Mohan to take up the various initiatives listed above is a sweet and interesting story by itself. Mohan's wife, who is also a government school teacher, was transferred to Raichur a few years ago. Before working in Koravi, Mohan used to work in a government higher primary school in Periyapatna, near Mysuru district. He says, "Mysuru is very far from Raichur and we couldn't afford to travel often to see each other. Therefore, I took a transfer and moved to Koravi in 2013. After coming here and seeing the condition of the school, I felt that I should try and make a difference in the lives of these children."
All for education: Mohan spent over Rs 17,000 to install the electric poles and procure other equipment for the school
Mohan's first initiative was to get computers to the higher primary school by pooling in funds from MNCs. But in order to make the computers work, he had to ensure that there was electricity in the school. It has not been an easy task for him as it took over two years to bring in electricity. "We had two different buildings belonging to the same school. While the primary school was inside the village, the higher primary school was on the outskirts. The primary school had all facilities including water and electricity which the higher primary school lacked. In 2016, I wrote several letters to politicians, the Block Education Officer and other government officials. When I approached the Karnataka Electricity Board for the provision of electricity, they said that they have to install eight electric poles to provide power to the school which is in the outskirts. They even told me that with their fund limitations, they can provide only three electric poles. I decided to spend my own money to fund five other poles and get other necessary equipment as well. Thus, we brought a smile on our children's face by bringing in an electricity connection to the school. Even the parents and villagers were happy as they finally had functional street lights on a particular road," Mohan says happily.
Cool huts: When students are free, they can sit in this hut present inside the campus to read their lessons
The last challenge that Mohan had ahead of him was to provide clean drinking water and clean toilets during the school hours. "If children wanted to eat mid-day meals, use toilets or even drink water, they had to either go to back to their home or walk all the way to a primary school which is almost one kilometre away. During the summers, the situation worsens as children feel tired and thirsty. I had to write several letters to various government offices to get their approval for digging a borewell near the school. After months of struggle, I got approval from the concerned officials for it. When we started digging, we failed six times. I didn't lose hope and tried digging the seventh time. Fortunately, we came across ample amount of water. Now, it’s not just the school that uses water from this borewell, even the villagers use it. In order to make sure that there is no shortage of water during the summers, we dug another borewell, but its water is still being tested," he explains.
Green campus: Mohan and his students have even created a lush green campus around the school buiding
In order to add more greenery to the surroundings of the school, Mohan inspired children to plant saplings and water them every day. Apart from this, the primary school was shifted to the same building as the higher primary school. Mohan says, "The primary school was in a very old building inside the village premises. It would be easier for us to supervise the classes and track the students' attendance if they are in the same building. Therefore, we shifted it to one building."
Essential component: Now the school has drinking water and clean toilet facility during the school hours
The next task which features on Mohan's list is to lay more emphasis on English language teaching and learning among the school staff and children. "When children move on to larger platforms, especially for their higher studies, they need to know how to speak, read and write in English. Apart from the English syllabus prescribed by the government, I have thought of including some extra grammar lessons for them. This will be helpful when they compete with other students," he concludes.