Mr J.R. Hulkoti is the Head Master of the Government Lower Primary School (JP) in Suranagi, in Karnataka’s Gadag district. It’s a typical government school with 58 students, who, as first-generation learners, rely entirely on the school for their education. When we first started working with the school eight months ago, students struggled with basic Maths and English even as teachers battled low motivation and high absenteeism. We trained the teachers to use our Maths kit that employs simple, everyday objects to teach Maths in an interesting way. Despite this, the children were not making any progress in their Maths learning. We brought this to the Head Master’s notice, pointing out that other schools in our network were progressing much faster than his school. We are worried, we told him.
“Give me a month’s time and I will give you positive results,” Mr Hulkoti told us.
Meanwhile at the school, one of the teachers went on a long leave of absence and another teacher was deputed on a temporary basis. It was not the most ideal situation but Mr Hulkoti took up the challenge to improve his students with gusto. He gamely clubbed all the 58 students together and taught them. He familiarised himself with the Maths kit and the use of sight words to improve English and began employing them.
He selected student leaders to help all the children practice and learn the sight words. A month later, he invited me to witness the progress his students had made. I was astounded. Kids eagerly put up their hands to answer every question that was asked. They had learnt to use the Maths kit with aplomb and this only added to their excitement. The improvement was heartening indeed. But more was to come.
It was around this time that the Gram Panchayat of Suranagi decided to hold a Maths competition. Mr Hulkoti boldly put forth the names of his students for the contest. Living up to the confidence reposed in them, his children stunned everybody by sweeping all the prizes in the Class 4 category. Mr Hulkoti was a proud man.
The HM had challenged himself and had worked hard to achieve a stunning turnaround in his students.
“With the help of Mantra’s training we have managed to improve our students. Their basics was weak. They used to be disinterested in class. Now, they use the kits with interest. Attendance has improved. The children are motivated,” says Mr Hulkoti.
The tireless Mr Hulkoti found innovative ways to keep his students motivated and interested. Even as he strove to make Maths interesting for his students, he parallelly got them involved in developing a garden around the school.
Today, Government Lower Primary School (JP) in Suranagi is one of the cleanest, most attractive looking schools in the area. You will see students spending a lot of time in its premises.
The school, which had us worried initially, is among the best schools in our network today thanks to the determination and hard work of one man and his band of merry students.
By Raghu Patil, School Transformation Lead and Vasundhara, Programme Manager at Mantra4Change