Mysore, June 13 (SH)- The Government Higher Primary School in Lakshmipuram, which has a history of a century, has now reached the stage of closure. The once famed institution now has eight students on its rolls and served by just two teachers. The school has witnessed paucity of students, the reason for its likely closure.

While many class rooms of the building housing the school with a history of 100 years are in good condition, some rooms at the rear are found to be crumbling. The roof of the rooms, windows and doors are in a state of ruin. The wall at the back, having got wet, has reached a point of collapsing. The broken doors and windows are proving to be royal entry points for thieves.

The school is apart from most of the run-of-the-mill schools. World renowned cartoonist R.K. Laxman, V.K. Murthy, the winner of Dada Saheb Phalke Award for excellence in cinematography, popular Kannada film actor Ambarish, Mysore MP H. Viswanath and many other public figures have been among the school's alumni. The school has its own heritage image.

No admissions

Over the past five years, not even one student has been admitted to the school. One boy student in class five, one boy student and one girl student in class six, three boy students and two girl students in class seven are receiving education in the school at present. No fresh admissions have taken place from class one to five. There were more than 250 students in 2002 in the school which also had eight teachers. There are more than 12 classrooms in the school building. At present two teachers Mahadevamma and Pavana are serving in the school. They are biding time by continuing their lessons assembling all the students in one classroom.

The Department of Public Instruction is squarely blamed for the present dismal state of the school. The various Government primary schools, private institutions as well as aided schools that were allowed to come up in surrounding extensions — Kris-hnamurthypuram, Nanjumalige, Chamundipuram and others —proved the undoing of the Lakshmipuram Primary School. There are 10 to 15 schools within a two kilometre radius of the school including Govinda Rao Memorial School, Balabodhini and Christ the King Convent.

As the number of private and aided schools increased in its vicinity, the number of admissions to Lakshmipuram Higher Primary School started dwindling. Further, as parents began to prefer English medium schools for their wards, admitting children to the Lakshmipuram School remained a dream. Other aided schools in the region also suffered a similar fate.

The teachers of these schools are actively trying to protect their jobs by making door-to-door visits, providing notebooks and textbooks and even uniforms as well as transport for luring students to their schools. But the teachers in government schools are witnessing vacant benches in the classrooms.

BEO speaks

BEO Raghunandan inspecting the school.

The Government Higher Primary Schools come in the jurisdiction of South Zone.

South Zone Block Education Officer (BEO) Raghunandan is making efforts to get students admitted to the school. An admission drive has been launched. Admissions may rise in the next year, he anticipates with hope.

The condition of the school building and also its management started worsening even as the number of students admitted to the institution started coming down steeply.

Upset by the adverse development, Nagendra Kumar, Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI), had issued orders placing the head master of the school under suspension. He had also issued notice to increase admissions. However, without any effect of these steps, the number of admissions to the school started declining with each passing year. Well-wishers of the school say whether an admission drive is launched or any other step is taken, let the school with a long history be saved.

The school will be closed temporarily: DDPI

This school has a heritage background. The Department of Education has responsibility to save it. It is ironical that the school has reached a dismal state in spite of being located next to the office of the Block Education Officer. For the present, the eight students studying in the school will be transferred to schools in Ashokapuram or Krishnamurthypuram and the school will be closed temporarily.

When the teachers of the school and the Block Education launch an admission drive next academic year and bring students to the school, I will get the school re-opened.

— DDPI Nagendra Kumar

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore