BENGALURU: It may be the end of the road for a 91-year-old Tamil government high school in the heart of Bengaluru despite offers of help pouring in under corporate social responsibility (CSR) to repair and revive it. Reason: The state education department wants the school to be shut.
Located in the heart of the city and built in 1930, the Tamil government high school in Ashoknagar is one of the few existing minority language government schools being run in Karnataka.
Through the years, areas around the school developed, but the institution itself got a raw deal from successive state governments vis-a-vis maintaining its basic infrastructure. So much so that the tiled roof is broken, there are no functional toilets and there has been no power supply for seven years.
Today, the school has barely 10 students on its rolls and one teacher.
Having witnessed the crumbling infrastructure and the need for its revival, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) approached the local Rotary Club of South Parade and decided to revive the “almost” heritage structure. On October 30, the state government even wrote to INTACH, asking it to submit its past records of renovating and reviving the Fort High School.
Based on this letter, INTACH and Rotary Club roped in a corporate firm to raise funds, in the range of Rs 27-30 lakh, for the project.
However, when the club and INTACH approached the deputy director of public instructions (DDPI) to finalise the dates for the groundbreaking ceremony, they were told that the local block education officer had given an adverse report and allegedly had sought closure of the instituion.
Department of public instruction (DPI) commissioner R Vishal reiterated this decision and said the government is trying to persuade the Rotary Club and INTACH to invest the same funds in some other schools where there are substantial number of students.
Education minister BC Nagesh too agreed and cited the example of the renovated structure of Fort High School, where despite huge investments there has been no significant rise in student enrolment.
In the prime location of the government property. Housed on a 15,514 sq ft area in Ashoknagar, the land is allegedly being looked as realty goldmine.
Nagesh, however, asserted that the education department won’t let any of its properties be taken for commercial use.
The DPI commissioner said he will soon meet the BEO of the Shantinagar area and discuss what best can be done with the land parcel.