Published: 29th July 2019
Here's how a crumbling govt school in Bengaluru outskirt turns smart, courtesy NRI family
The Government Higher Primary School in Navarathna Agrahara near Bengaluru Airport, on a 12,000 sqft area, was completely demolished and reconstructed with the help of Ronald Colaco from Dubai
A fist look will make you think it is a private school. It has all modern education tools and infrastructure. This school, 30km from Bengaluru, is changing the way we look at government schools, thanks to an NRI family. For, the general perception is that government schools are not on par with private ones.
The Government Higher Primary School in Navarathna Agrahara near Kempegowda International Airport, on a 12,000 sqft area, was completely demolished and reconstructed with the help of Ronald Colaco from Dubai.
The Colaco family decided to move to the countryside when they saw the villages nearby struggling to make ends meet. The school was built in 1992 and started off with just four classrooms. Over the years, the infrastructure was not updated nor the building repaired. Often classes had to be held outdoors for fear that the building may collapse any time. Eventually, the school strength fell from 92 to 52. Since there were only a few private schools within a 3km radius, many parents had to pay exorbitant fees.
Ronald Colaco, a businessman, frequents Bengaluru and has a house near the school. The idea of rebuilding the school entirely came to him as several people in the village used to request him to give financial assistance to pay the school fees. His son, Nigel Colaco, oversaw the design, construction and execution of the project.
“Villagers used to spend all their savings or borrow money to enroll their children in private schools. I used to get requests from parents to support their children's education. I decided to build the new government school as a permanent solution,” Ronald Colaco told The New Indian Express.
The school today boasts of 11 well-equipped classrooms, a computer laboratory, a conference hall, sports facilities, staff chambers, 31 CCTV cameras, kitchen and dining hall to provide mid-day meal to the children, a separate washroom for girls and boys, which match the standard of international schools.
The construction of the school and other infrastructure cost Rs 3.1 crore As of now, the school conducts classes up to grade seven. The remodeled school was inaugurated on Saturday where Union minister D V Sadananda Gowda was the chief guest. Krishna Byre Gowda, MLA, who was present, said efforts will be made to introduce English medium and also upgrade it to a high school in the following academic year.
“It took just five months to complete the construction. Being an NRI, I’ve always wanted to give back to the society,” Colaco said. While the school had only three government teachers, Colaco brought in an additional four teachers. Not only that, the school has now seen 24 new admissions.
Colaco has requested more people to come forward and develop government schools.
Mahesh Kumar N K, the panchayat president, said, “Now the villagers are happy to see a government school of international standards.”