In a heartwarming development, students from a government high school in Chitradurga district of Karnataka saved their school from being shut down. Travelling 250 km overnight, students of the government high school in Alaghatta village met with Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy early on Monday, June 25, demanding that the education department not proceed with their plans to shut it down.
Shouldering their school bags, 43 students in their uniforms, along with some village elders arrived at the Chief Minister’s residence in JP Nagar on a bus at approximately 5 in the morning. According to The Times of India, it was only around 10:45 am when the Chief Minister decided to meet with the students, after which he ordered officials to ensure that the school isn’t shut down.
Students, alongside a few villagers, left their village late on Sunday night, and at approximately 8:45 am, the Chief Minister’s office gathered all the necessary details from them, reports ToI. As he was about to leave for his office at 10:45 am, students waiting for his arrival cried out for him.
Stung by the pleas of ‘CM Sir’, Kumaraswamy felt he had little choice but to meet them. He asked the students for a week’s time and assured them that their demands would be met.
It was on June 16, when students and teachers were told by local authorities that their school, which has stood for 24 years, would soon close down. The students, according to the authorities, would be shifted to a school 15 km away in Bharamasagara village. However, the students complained that classes for the current academic year had already begun.
Speaking to the villagers, the Chief Minister asked why they had brought the children to the city. Villagers, however, responded that no one had taken the trouble of listening to their problems, and meeting with the Chief Minister was the last resort.
Officials cite the low number of students at the Alaghatta government school behind their decision to shut shop and transfer students. The current currently has 50 students on its rolls.
According to Deccan Chronicle, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy chided his officials, asking, “Have you not bothered to resolve the problem of these children? Mind the work you do. If I keep meeting people with complaints when will I run my administration?” He has sought a report on the school in 10 days.
Speaking to The Times of India, meanwhile, a gram panchayat member of Alaghatta village spoke of how vested private interests are driving officials in the education department to shut down the 24-year-old school. “We protested against the department’s decision for a couple of days, but no one bothered to listen to us. This pushed us to meet the CM to seek justice,” he told the publication.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)