Udupi, Aug 5 2017: Mahatma Gandhi Government Model Higher Primary School, popularly known as ‘Main Shale’ and one of the most precious assets of the bygone era of Udupi district, is now on the verge of becoming merely a memory.
The district administration has decided to shift the students and teachers of the school with a history of 132 years.
The school, which was already in dilapidated condition, has been shut down and the teachers and students are shifted to North School near the Corporation Bank branch in the heart of the town. The school has put a strong foundation since many years for the future of countless children, but is now being wiped out from the history of the temple town.
Speaking to DH, Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis said that the school is being shifted as it has been completely ruined and the walls are under the threat of collapse. The decision was taken in order to safeguard the interest of the students. The land would be under the Department of Public Instruction. The decision to repair the existing building would be taken shortly, the officer added.
She said that the new school has a playground and better facilities when compared to the old Mahatma Gandhi Government Model Higher Primary School. Students’ interest is the priority and the plans would also be chalked out to decide renovation of the old school, the officer said.
The land that accommodated the school was donated in 1885 by the philanthropist Haji Abdullah, who also built the school. The school stood for more than 100 years but never saw any sort of makeover. The building was used to accommodate children from first standard to seventh standard. On July 16, however, one side of the wall was damaged following rainfall and collapsed.
The deputy commissioner who visited the area decided that the students should be immediately shifted owing to the impending threat. The school was shut down. The 50 students and four teachers joined the North School. Almost all students are the children of the migratory labourers.
The North School already had 63 students, but has to now accommodate additional 50 students, the number hiking to 113. The number of teachers has also been increased, with the school already having three appointed teachers and four new being brought in from Mahatma Gandhi Government
Model Higher Primary School.
The RTE Act, however, specifically mentions that a school should have five teachers in proportion to 113 students. Venkatesh Naik, the DDPI in-charge, said the decision to shift the students and teachers immediately was indeed necessary. However, a decision will also be taken on providing the teachers’ proportionately, he added.
According to sources, the underlying threat in the shifting of the school seems to be that the state government plans to hand over the land to an under-construction super specialty hospital which is in the adjacent owned by BRS Ventures. An additional 20 cents land is already leased out to the BRS Ventures but the fact remains unrevealed.
Tallur Shivram Shetty, an alumnus of the school, also expressed the suspicion and added that there are all possibilities of the authorities handing over the land to BRS Ventures.
Courtesy: Deccan Herald