With no teachers around, these Kerala school students are forced to teach themselves
news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
Haritha John | The News Minute | December 30, 2014 | 1.20 pm IST After an hour of science class, all 25 students in this classroom agree that Ramya is a good teacher. For these children learning comes from within as Ramya is one of their own, a 13 year-old girl studying in the same class. This is precisely what unfolds in some of the Malayalam-instruction classrooms at the Government High School, Hosdurg which is located in Kasargod ,Keralaâ€™s northern most district . Located along the Kerala-Karnataka border, the school provides two mediums of instruction. However, the Malayalam medium section classes are managed by just two teachers for the last two years. While only two subjects are taught by appointed teachers, the rest, accounting to four subjects are managed by students themselves. â€śThis is the situation in 8th, 9th and 10th grade classes. One or two brilliant students in a class divide the subjects among themselves and they get prepared for the class previous day. They somehow manage to cover the subjects in which teachers are not thereâ€ť said the schoolâ€™s Head Master Kamalakshan. Exasperated due to the lack of teachers, the students then came up with this new method of learning and fending for themselves. â€śI used to teach mathematics in my class. I learn from my sister the previous day and teach my friends in the class next day. But we are really worried that we have to face board exams this year. At least we need teachers for Maths and other science subjectsâ€ť said Sulfath studying in class 10 about his fears. Most of the students studying in this government school belongs to poor families and canâ€™t afford private institutions. Apparently, they also lack a choice as there are no other government schools in the vicinity. â€śWe are not able to answer most of the questions during exams as we donâ€™t learn it in-depth . Other government schools are far away from here, we have only limited buses to this place. And it is not affordable for us to study in the convent school nearbyâ€ť said Arun, an 8th class student expressing his helplessness. Despite all the difficulties, Arun agreed that his classmates have put in a lot of effort and dedication to teach the entire class. â€śTwo of our classmates teach few subjects and some important topics. They somehow learn it from home and teach us. We are able to manage questions from those portionsâ€ť he said, proudly. However the headmaster and other teachers who teach at the Kannada medium of this school have expressed their concern and helplessness. â€śAll together there are 73 students in these three classes. We know that shortage of teachers affect their future. But we are helpless, we canâ€™t do anything, government has to appoint teachersâ€ť said a teacher at the school. Located along the border of the two states, teachers allege that its government has been least bothered about the school because of its rural location. In addition, students also lack basic infrastructure in the school. While one classroom has been divided with a cloth curtain and now doubles as two different classrooms, students also alleged that they didnâ€™t have sufficient benches and desks. Attempts in the past to get more teachers have gone in vain. Following repeated representations to authorities, some teachers were appointed, but they were later forced to resign when salaries were not given. Even the two teachers available for Malayalam instruction have been retained because of new rules. â€śAccording to new rule two medium of instructions are not allowed in a school. But we had both Kannada and Malayalam medium here before the rule was implemented and the government had approved it too. That is how the existing two teachers get salaryâ€ť Kamalakshan said. A child shying away from homework and school is the stereotypical norm. But for these kids, responsibility and awareness has set in early as they hope to find a better future despite the lack of what every child needs most â€“ sound, quality education. Kerala may still hold the reputation for being the state with the highest literacy in India, but for thesestudents it has been no easy struggle. Tweet Read : A man who ferries stranded passengers for free at night in this rural Kerala district
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