Published: 19th June 2019
This Science teacher in a Govt School in Koppal just got his students to grow an organic veggie garden. And it is AWESOME!
Rakesh KC, a teacher at the Government Higher Primary School talks about their school garden and how children are learning some apt life lessons along the way
While most of us complain about the lack of facilities in government schools, the Government Higher Primary School in Koppal district's Hosakanakapura village is taking some notable initiatives to set an example for others. A team of senior teachers and the principal along with students have nurtured a garden in the school premises and have been maintaining it for four years. They grow plants like spinach, tomatoes, brinjal, fenugreek, curry leaves, coriander and mint in this garden.
Rakesh KC, a Science teacher who is part of the team behind this garden, says, "We started this initiative to help children learn the process of cultivation and plantation. It turned out to be a wonderful idea as children started showing interest in learning gardening. Therefore, we formed eco clubs and divided the students into teams to look after the garden. There are a few hours that we have alotted purely for gardening. Children are responsible for weeding out the unnecessary grass that grows in the garden and keeping the space clean. They also need to inform the teachers if they spot any insects destroying the plants. More than anything else, if students want to learn gardening, then they must observe the different stages of the plant as it grows. These days, a few children have taken the initiative to start sowing seeds. But we inform them about the particular months when it is ideal to sow the seeds. Usually, the seeds are sown before rainy seasons starts."
The school, which has 168 students, is located in an industrial area and is surrounded by steel manufacturing factories. Hence, this is another reason for teachers to show that no matter what, healthy food can be cultivated in your backyard, provided you have the right knowledge. "We don't use pesticides so that the food we grow is chemical-free. We buy compost from farmers which is made from food waste or animal waste. When it comes to water, we have adopted the drip irrigation method so that there is no wastage of water. Apart from this, we keep changing the soil whenever it is required. The teachers' team share a large chunk of the work, but when we do it, we see to it that children learn the same skills from us," adds Rakesh. Trees like coconut, neem, mango, bamboo and banyan are also a part of this school garden.
Now, we are curious to know who uses these vegetables from the garden and we are happy to report that it is children who bear the fruit. Whenever they have enough vegetables, they include it in the midday meals which are cooked on the school premises. Thus, the team of teachers who took up this initiative are happy about the fact that children are not only gaining knowledge, but even getting sufficient nutrients and vitamins from the garden. Recognising their work, the Zilla Panchayat in Koppal district awarded them the Best Environment-Friendly School title. They were also given a cash prize of `20,000 which was used in the development activities of the school.