Published: 09th October 2020
This government school headmaster in Raichur takes a boat ride across the Krishna to teach 13 children on an island village
Sharanabasappa teaches 13 children who are in class 8, 9 and 10 in Kuruvakuruda village. He has also arranged a cluster resource person to overlook the progress of these kids in terms of academics
When you're short of positivity and need a boost, you must listen to Sharanabasappa Neelagalker's story. This government school headmaster takes a coracle (a small raft) ride across the Krishna river to travel from one village to another to conduct classes for 13 children at least twice a week. Hold on, you might wonder why take a coracle ride when he can conduct online classes or record videos and send it on Whatsapp.
The answer lies in an age-old problem. The village he goes to, Kuruvakuruda, is an island in Manvi Taluk in Raichur District, and there are power cuts for long stretches of time. As a result, the children can neither access classes that happen on television nor do they have enough connectivity to attend online classes.
Sharanabasappa is a headmaster at the D Rampur Government High School in Raichur district. Though his days are packed conducting classes for students at this school, he ensures that he takes time twice a week to travel to Kuruvakuruda. He explains, "When I have to take a coracle ride, I need to walk 45 minutes to the river from my village D Rampur. Then the coracle ride is almost 45 minutes. When the dam gates open, it is a huge challenge to take this ride. Once I reach the other side of the river, I need to walk another 45 minutes to reach Kuruvakuruda."
Despite there being many developments across the state, this village has not been connected to the mainland. To this, he says, "Until last year, when there are heavy floods in North Karnataka everything comes to a standstill. The small bridge that connected this village to other main places broke due to the flooding last year. From then, there has been no road to travel on. Anyone who wants to reach this destination has to take a coracle ride."
It's not that Sharanabasappa did not try conducting classes on the television. He did try in the initial days, when the lockdown was imposed to conduct classes via the TV. But most of his students missed these classes due to lack of power at home. That's when he arranged a Cluster Resource Person to look into their lessons and teaching. This headmaster says, "The television classes have to finish in a particular time slot given to us. Hence, we cannot keep repeating the same concepts and are not sure if these students have understood what we taught them. Once, it so happened that I visited the village and asked how the classes had been. Unfortunately, they hadn't understood anything. I repeated all the lessons for them."
Whenever Sharanabasappa visits them twice a week, he not only takes classes but gives enough homework to do so that the students don't forget whatever they have learnt from this teacher.