Apart from the lack of teachers, government schools in the remotest parts of India often suffer from a dire shortage in non-teaching staff to maintain their premises.
However, going beyond his administrative duties, B Mahadeshwara Swamy, the headmaster of a government primary school in the remote Hongahalli village of Chamarajanagar district, Karnataka, begins his day by cleaning toilets so that students can relieve themselves in a sanitary environment. He also spent his own money in improving the school library and carefully curated garden.
His initiatives have helped transform this remote village school in Karnataka, presenting a real example of how teachers can go beyond the call of duty and create a habitable environment for students keen on learning.
Speaking to the Times of India, residents of the village talk about how Mahadeshwara begins every day by cleaning the school toilets, followed by maintaining the garden and sweeping the classroom.
“What makes him special is he ensures that every student takes care of personal hygiene. He also makes every child a part of learning activities, sports and games. Parents are pleased and willing to send their children to school regularly,” one resident told the national publication.
Mahadeshwara’s initiative has clearly worked. Today, the school has 121 students enrolled in it.
However, this isn’t the first time that he has cleaned school toilets. Ever since he joined a tribal school started by Dr H Sudarshan, a social worker and tribal rights activist, in the Biligirirangana Hills on February 6, 1988, Mahadeshwara has cleaned toilets. This was a practice he picked up on the very first day of joining this school.
“I worked there for over eight years. That stint taught me the importance of personal hygiene and social service. In 1994, I joined government service and continued the same approach. It is our duty to clean the places we use. Clean toilets are essential for a healthy life. So, I am continuing this exercise wherever I go,” Mahadeshwara told the Times of India.
Even HR Revanna, a gram panchayat member, and Somasekharaiah, a Gundlupet block education officer, have spoken of Mahadeshwara’s diligence as a headmaster in ensuring these students in Karnataka were up to the mark in terms of cleanliness and discipline, besides crediting him for changing the school for the better.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)