Published: 29th January 2019
This 106-year-old Tamil Medium School in Bengaluru was saved from closure. This is how
Two private companies and the Government of Karnataka renovated this 106-year-old Government Tamil School recently. The former headmistress of this school tell us why these upgrades are very important
The students of Government Tamil Higher Primary School in Cox Town, Bengaluru, are happier than ever before as their school looks brand new. They now have clean toilets, drinking water, well-furnished classrooms and even a dedicated play area. Thanks to a few private companies, who as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, worked in collaboration with the State Education Department to renovate it. Government Tamil Higher Primary School was built in 1913 by the Britishers and was very well-known among the residents of Cox Town, Frazer Town, areas near the Cantonment Railway Station and Ulsoor. "English men built this vernacular school, especially for those children whose parents migrated from Tamil Nadu for work. A few years ago, there were more than 1,000 students who were studying in our school. But the strength reduced due to various reasons. Our school has classes from I to VII. This year, the number of enrollments have increased as the Embassy Group has renovated the school building giving it a brand new look," says P Parimala, the school's former Headmistress who has been working here since 1992.
Until last year, there was also a Kannada medium school occupying a few classrooms within the school campus. Now, it has been shifted to a new building which is just 500 metres away, thus allowing all the 10 classrooms to be used only for Tamil medium classes. The first language and medium of instruction is Tamil. Meanwhile, Kannada and English are the other two languages which the children study here.
Play time: Now, children have a dedicated play area
Making the classrooms safe
The Embassy Group, a real estate group based out of Bengaluru, who has renovated the school building has also put in place a few safety measures like iron barricades in the corridors and play areas. After school hours, these barricades are locked to ensure that miscreants from the surrounding areas do not vandalise the benches or classroom walls. Apart from this, they have provided a water purifier for clean water drinking facility. Regular water supply is important to ensure that the toilets remain clean hence, an overhead water tank has been installed so that there is no shortage of water during summers. The ceilings which used to leak during heavy rains have been made more durable with new iron sheets.
Shaina Ganapathy, Executive General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Embassy Group says, "When we visited the school for the first time, we saw only 40 students. Once the infrastructure was developed, the strength increased and there were voluntary enrolments as well. Now, there are 100 students studying here and we are hoping that by next year, more children join the school. It is important for us to develop government schools, especially vernacular ones, because a large part of the workforce comes from these schools."
Mineral water: Clean drinking water facility has been created for this school children
Describing the before and after conditions of the school, Ganapathy says, "The campus was dirty and filled with muck, dry leaves and garbage. Even the school walls had turned dirty. We cleaned them with the help of our employees and painted them. Concrete laid on the grounds which was otherwise filled with construction debris. A separate sitting area with benches was made. We have also installed a few recreational equipments and barricaded the play area to keep it safe. When children are in school, teachers unlock the barricades so that children can play."
Embassy Group has been developing government school for five years. A total of Rs 34 lakh was spent in renovating Government Tamil Higher Primary School. It took four months to develop the infrastructure of this school
Apart from this, Cerner Corporation, a supplier of health information technology solutions, has partnered with the Embassy Group to provide regular health check-ups for students. They have also provided health kits which have a variety of sanitary products and have taken the responsibility of regular maintenance of toilets.