A school leader’s belief in the power of student empowerment

A school leader’s belief in the power of student empowerment

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Pratibha English Medium

Basawaraj S, Pratibha English Medium School, Bellary, Hubli

Basawaraj S had always dreamed of becoming a teacher who could inspire his students to achieve their goals. As the school leader of Pratibha English medium school in Bellary, Hubli, he worked hard to provide quality education and guidance to the kids. He was proud of his efforts, but he never expected to receive such heartfelt recognition from one of his former students.

One day, as he was walking through the school corridor, he saw a familiar face approaching him. The former student whom he mentored four years back was holding a trophy and had a bright smile. “Sir, this prize belongs to you,” were the words that stunned Basawaraj.

He realized that this was more than just a prize; it was a testament to his impact as a mentor and a leader. It was a reward for his dedication and passion. “I feel that my efforts and hardwork have finally paid off,” he says with pride.

Pratibha English Medium

What makes Pratibha English Medium a ‘Unique school’?

Pratibha English medium school was not like any other school. It was located in a rural area and had classes from nursery to class 7 only. But it had something that made it stand out from the rest: its unique culture of student empowerment.

The school leader, Basavaraj, believed that students should take charge of their own learning and development. He encouraged them to organize functions, host events, deliver speeches and participate in competitions. He also made them a promise: whoever scored the highest marks in SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) exam after leaving his school would be invited back as an alumni and honored by him.

This promise motivated many students to work hard and excel in their studies. These two strategies, though implemented as moves to encourage students, have actually brought popularity, name, fame, and recognition to the school.

The inspiration behind starting the school

Basavaraj S had always wanted to start his own school. He had completed his B.A. degree and was pursuing his D.Ed. course when he witnessed something that changed his life.

He found out that the children from his village were going to a far-off school for their education. They had no other option as there was no good school nearby. “Once I saw one child fall from the moving bus. I felt angry and sad at the same time. It was then I realized that many children like him were risking their lives every day for their education. I decided to do something about it. That’s how I started a school in my hometown, aiming to give all the village children the privilege of and access to not just education, but quality education,” Basavaraj said emotionally.

Basavaraj had another vision for his school. He wanted his students to learn English well as he believed that gaining confidence in English skills, be it speaking, reading, or writing, would take them to greater heights in life, whether professionally or personally. “I knew that many children in rural areas developed an inferiority complex compared to their urban counterparts because of their lack of English proficiency. I wanted to rule out this anxiety among the students,” he said passionately.

Starting school was interesting but never easy

Basavaraj’s lifelong dream was to have a school of his own. He yearned for a place where he could teach and educate young minds to their fullest potential. Back in 2003, when he was pursuing his education in D.Ed., it seemed like an impossible goal. 

Despite the daunting task ahead of him, Basavaraj started small by teaching nursery classes in his own home. As his student enrollment grew, he knew that he needed a proper building for his school. “The idea of having my own school premises was constantly on my mind, and I was determined to turn it into a reality.”

But the journey to achieving his dream was not an easy one. Basavaraj had to apply for permission from the BEO, which was a Herculean task that required him to travel 40 km every day to visit the office. With no financial backing and no support from others, he faced numerous obstacles and setbacks along the way.

Yet, Basavaraj’s resilience and determination never faltered. With the help of some well-wishers and the blessings of God, he was able to overcome all the challenges that stood in his way. Finally, after all the struggles and hardships, Basavaraj was able to own his school premises, fulfilling his lifelong dream.

School, Growth, and Varthana

Basavaraj has poured his heart and soul into running his school for 19 long years, facing countless challenges and obstacles along the way. Despite it all, he has remained steadfast in his commitment to providing innovative methods of teaching, highly qualified teachers, and unwavering support to his students. He has always had a deep desire to improve the infrastructure of his school and to watch it grow into something truly extraordinary, but the lack of funds and support from the community made it a constant uphill battle.

That’s when Varthana came into his life. “With their strong financial backing, I was finally able to invest in much-needed infrastructure development, including benches, furniture, painting, school vehicles, and so much more. But that was just the beginning,” the school leader acknowledged. “Varthana went above and beyond by providing academic support through WhatsApp classes, online teacher training, and Unlock remedial books. They helped my students continue learning remotely and bridge the learning gap during the difficult COVID period,” he stated with happiness in his eyes. With Varthana’s help, Basavaraj now hopes to build a long-lasting partnership that will bring plenty of growth and success to his school in the years to come.

Foresight for the school

Basavaraj envisions a future filled with smart classes, computers, play-way methods of teaching and learning, experienced and well-qualified teachers, efficient school staff, and a well-developed infrastructure. He dreams of well-groomed and well-educated students who are fully equipped to take on the world with confidence.

“Moving towards innovation is what I wish for,” the school leader said with a sense of determination and hope in his voice, as he looked towards a bright future filled with endless possibilities.


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