Empowerment Hub: Woman’s Quest to Build a Thriving School in Bellary

Tired Of Routine Jobs, One Woman Sets Out to Build A Thriving School in Bellary, Now A Hub Of Empowerment

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Customer story - VANITHA PRIMARY

Latha Bijapur Srinivasa Rao, Vanitha Higher Primary School, Bellary, Karnataka

Vanitha Higher Primary School stands as a testament to the incredible power of determination and a strong belief in one’s dreams. It’s a story of how one simple idea grew into a thriving tree of knowledge and empowerment.

In the quaint village of Chitwadgi, Latha Bijapur Srinivasa Rao, living a monotonous life, had no inkling that life would lead her on a remarkable journey, one that would reshape her career and touch the lives of countless individuals.

The Journey Towards Transition

For a decade, Latha had dedicated her life as a personal assistant in a chartered accountant’s office in her village. But life had other plans as health issues concerning her father forced her to step away from her job. As her father’s health improved, Latha found herself at a crossroads, uncertain of the path she should tread.

“The prospect of a traditional job no longer appealed to me,” she reflects, “and starting a business was not a viable option for a single woman seeking flexibility and stability.” While Latha struggled to find her calling, a well-wisher offered a suggestion that would set the course for a remarkable transformation:

“You have a building, a valuable asset. Utilize it wisely. Start a school, be your own boss, and mold your own destiny.”

With this idea planted firmly in her mind, Vanitha Higher Primary School began to take shape in the year 2005. The journey, though challenging, was one that Latha embraced with determination and resilience.

Initial Challenges

“The road was far from smooth,” Latha recalls, “as we encountered neighborhood opposition due to our school’s location in a residential area. However, with ingenuity and a modification to the school’s entrance, we did overcome this challenging phase,” she assures. Latha skillfully navigated the bureaucratic maze, obtaining the necessary permissions and arranging funds to bring the school to life. Slowly but surely, the old building transformed into a functional and thriving educational institution.

The school leader thus became a stalwart in the field of education. She had seen the changing tides in the pedagogical landscape. Her school, where the wisdom of the past intertwined with the dreams of the youth, became a place where knowledge flourished. It shaped young minds into confident, independent, and well-rounded individuals.

Also Read: One School Leader Is Providing Quality Education & Best Facilities At Affordable Fees In Wardha

Irony: The Modern Education Dilemma

As the school thrived, Latha observes, “it became a symbol of robust foundational education in the region.” The charming hallways of Vanitha Primary and High School had transformed, but not all for the better. She shares her nostalgia for the days when teaching was an art, and students held their mentors in high regard. “Teaching methods in our time were superior,” she reminisces, “students respected and followed their teachers.”

“In the present educational landscape,” Latha says, “we’ve witnessed a profound shift. The focus has moved from nurturing well-rounded individuals to an exclusive pursuit of grades.” She believes the emphasis on high grades has overshadowed the holistic development of students. Government policies mandating 100% pass rates and automatic promotion to the next grade have also disrupted genuine education.

Students and teachers have now found themselves caught in a whirlwind of notes, revisions, and syllabus completion, Latha shares. “The very foundations of education—teaching and learning concepts, fostering critical thinking, and overall character development—seemed to be overshadowed by the race for marks.”

In addition, she notes, “Parents have unintentionally embraced this numbers-driven culture. Their insatiable desire for top grades has sometimes led them to overlook the significance of well-rounded growth. They frequently crave impressive report cards, potentially at the expense of their child’s genuine comprehension and knowledge.”

Voice of Concern

Latha states, “Our education system unintentionally produces educated but uneducated individuals, posing a threat to our country’s future.” She revealed the paradox where education, meant to enlighten, results in exam-focused students.

As she contemplated this paradox, Latha recognizes the need for change. This change aimed to restore the true essence of education, emphasizing knowledge as a guiding light, not just numbers on a report card. As she puts it, “Education is more than grades; it’s about molding lives. We must cultivate a love for learning and embrace curiosity.”

COVID-19 Times

This rural school also faced challenges due to the impact of COVID-19 on education. According to the school leader, the pandemic led to a concerning change in student behavior, affecting their morals, ethics, and values, which in turn harmed their academic focus. Latha says, “Restoring their moral compass was a key challenge for the school. Yet, we persevered, focusing on strengthening the basics and nurturing our students.”

Under her guidance, the school quickly adjusted. They introduced moral lessons and extra support to address the learning gap. “We remained determined, concentrating on reinforcing the fundamentals and nurturing our students,” Latha emphasizes.

Learning Gap and Management

“Moreover, many students faced a significant learning gap during the pandemic, struggling with basic concepts like numbers 1 to 10,” explains the school leader. She goes on to say, “In the 3 to 4 months following the pandemic, I diligently visited classrooms daily to impart moral lessons and address behavioral issues.”

To mitigate the learning gap, the school leader implemented a strategy of teaching fundamental concepts to all students, regardless of their learning levels. Additionally, the school facilitated the completion of the syllabus by providing printed notes for all subjects to students. This was particularly beneficial for students with slow writing, poor handwriting, spelling difficulties, and related challenges.

Moments of Pride

Every school aims to establish a firm grasp of fundamental knowledge, but this school excels at prioritizing strong foundations. According to Latha, students transitioning from Vanitha Higher Primary School to ninth grade in other schools are readily accepted, a testament to her school’s commitment to this educational approach. She proudly declares, “Our students are well-prepared for the future.”

Role of Varthana

The school leader emphasizes, “Our association with Varthana was a timely blessing, and over the past decade, they have been instrumental in our growth journey.” The financial assistance received played a crucial role in renovating the school building and acquiring furniture, among other necessities. During the challenging period of the COVID-19 pandemic, she mentions, “Although we faced initial difficulties, Varthana efficiently addressed our concerns and swiftly resolved any issues.” She concludes, “Today, our school is in a much better, more stable, and progressive state, thanks to Varthana’s support.”

Also Read: How This School Leader Created A Pocket Friendly School For The Underprivileged In Karnal

Future Plans

The school plans to enhance its facilities by acquiring a suitable playground and additional play materials. However, when asked about the possibility of expanding classes from LKG to 8, and potentially including grades 9 and 10, the school leader expresses satisfaction with the current setup and mentions, “I am content with our present structure and am open to taking on additional responsibilities if needed in the future.”


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