Residential schools heralding new phase in education sector

By: D. Chandrabhaskar Rao

The very name of Sarvail evokes a sense of nostalgia for many of the bigwigs who excelled in different fields in the State. It is because their memories are stoked with experiences of intimate association with the name and they all still continue to take pride in their stay in the tiny village of Nalgonda district. Residential education and the success of the concept in both government and private sectors, not only in Telangana, but in the entire Telugu heartland, were mainly due to the Survail model. The first residential school set up by a State in Independent India came up in the village, heralding a new phase in the education sector.

Thanks to the initiative of the then Chief Minister P V Narasimha Rao (the ninth Prime Minister of India) who sought to address the backwardness of the region with social economic reforms, the residential school was set up in the village in 1971.

The credit of establishing the first residential school goes also to the benevolence of Maddi Narayana Rao, a Sarvodaya leader who donated 44 acre of land for the residential school translating a novel concept into reality.

This was only institution in entire Telangana region for students aspiring for residential education in those days. Admission into the institution was a dream for many. A good number of officials occupying key positions in the State today were from Sarvail residential school.

Nalgonda District Collector, K Surendra Mohan is also one of them and he attributes all that he had achieved in his career to the opportunity he had to have his education in the Survail. He exudes confidence that the 119 BC residential schools started by the State government in one go this year holds out great hope for the BC students in the State. Calling it a bold step by the government, he said it would certainly create history. State would have a fair share youth qualifying for the all India services in the next ten to 15 years.

Just not mere numbers that are adding up, State has witnessed a quantum leap in adopting the change that is moving faster towards new models of residential education today. It is a change that prepares and inspires students towards success, says G Ashok Kumar, Principal Secretary BC welfare.

With over 28,600 students enrolled in the 119 new BC welfare residential institutions, the State government has gone all out to bring in the desired change in institutions. The backward Classes Welfare Department has been tasked with the responsibility of giving a massive push to infrastructure in the BC welfare residential while make the residential schools little more cheerful and greener besides upgrading the academic standards, said Principle Secretary, BC welfare, G Ashok Kumar.

For the past two months, almost every employee in the department was literally on ties and working round the clock to have the best facilities in place. Now they have become the ultimate parental choice and envy of even the private institutions. The overall expenditure ranges from Rs 1.05 lakh to Rs 1.25 lakh annum on each student. The initial spending on the new institutions is in the order of Rs 45 crore, and the government would be spending over Rs 2,380 crores to provide permanent buildings and with permanent infrastructure to the new residential schools. As many as 103 of the new institutions have been provided with private accommodation, mostly in buildings of private engineering college that have been closed for one reason or the other.

Initially, the institutions started functioning with only three classes – fifth, sixth and seventh standards – with an intake of 80 students in each class. Now there is a big clamour for admissions which has been restricted only for those qualified in the entrance test conducted by the government. The kind of facilities provided to the children had a luring effect even on the students who preferred to opt for private residential school chains. Pending recruitment of regular staff by the Telangana State Public service commission, the State had got principals recruited and trained on temporary basis from the Administrative Staff College of India.

The Government has sanctioned in all 4,046 posts of teaching and non- teaching staff to work in the schools. The State has already some 8,282 students on the rolls of the 23 BC welfare residential schools. As part of the initiative to study the educational and infrastructural deficiencies in the institutions, the department had gathering feedback directly from the inmates. The new institutions that came up under the Mahatma Jyothiba PhuleTelangana Backward Classes Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society, are holding out a big hope for children seeking quality education in English medium.

With the admissions phase coming to a close, the department is focusing mainly on the behavioral aspects of the students who had come from different villages, towns and regions. Making the student to adapt to the new conditions is a major challenge. First two months would be devoted only to provide due exposure to the students enabling them to perform spontaneous niceties to one another improving the class room atmosphere.

The newly recruited teachers who are not used to the residential schools conditions were also being provided with due reorientation on class room management and hostel co- ordination.
The inmates of the new hostels would have services of advanced laundry and saloon facilities thanks to the decision to entrust such responsibilities to societies formed with skilled workmen drawn from traditional occupations.

Barring the supply of uniforms which was timed with the Independence Day celebrations on August 15, the all the 119 residential institutions started function in a full-fledged manner.

Source: Telangana Today

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