The Barali Government Higher Primary School, located near the Bramhavar town in Udupi district, Karnataka, would’ve faced certain closure, for the lack of students.
However, according to the Bengaluru Mirror, a few determined teachers worked to ensure that this did not happen. Among the teachers, the physical education teacher, Rajaram, deserves a special mention, as he took it upon himself to drive the school bus so that the students would not seek admission elsewhere.
Rajaram kept noticing that the school’s strength was on the decline. One main reason was that parents preferred sending their children to schools with a bus facility. It was then that he, with help from the old student’s association, bought a mini-bus, last year.
Rajaram credits Savyasachi Vijay Hegde, who works in Bengaluru, and Ganesh Shetty, an engineer with Nirmithi Kendra, for providing help with the purchase of the bus.
Everything was going smoothly, when they realised appointing a driver take a massive bite out of the school’s limited funds. It was then, that Rajaram decided to drive the bus himself. He told the publication that he lives close to the school, and the students would feel safe and comfortable if a familiar face drove them around.
The plan seemingly worked! According to Rajaram, the dropout rate has drastically reduced, and the school’s strength has increased from 60 to 90 students.
Rajaram’s day is very hectic. He leaves his house at 8:10 a.m., and ensures that all students are in their classrooms by 9:20 a.m. He makes 4 trips of around 30 kms, one way. Most students, live in rural areas, and their parents are connected with the school, so they don’t have to worry about a driver coming late.
Rajaram wants the school bus facility to continue, irrespective of where he is. The cautious teacher ensures bus trips are not affected even if he takes leave, and is putting into place a system so that the old students can be actively involved in supporting their Alma mater.
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According to Headmistress Kusuma, the school has just 4 teachers, with Rajaram being the most dedicated member of the staff. He teaches physical education, science, and math, and now, drives the school bus.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)