On January 9, 2020, R Sriramanan retired from his position of headmaster at Zila Parishad High School, Chilamathur, in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. After serving for 2.5 years, he made a contented and happy exit. With infrastructural improvements done in 2019 to the school by Sehgal Foundation under its program Transform Lives one school at a time, he is assured of leaving a healthy and stimulating environment for schoolchildren. Earlier, the school building was in a bad state with leaky ceilings, lack of toilets, and no provision for potable drinking water. Children faced a lot of inconvenience during rains, and the school did not have a well-defined playground or assembly area. All these factors resulted in low school attendance, thereby affecting studies.
Transform Lives one school at a time focused on renovating the school infrastructure, providing clean drinking water and separate and functional toilets for boys and girls, life skills education and digital literacy training, a well-ventilated and safe space for cooking midday meals, and building the capacities of the School Management Committee for its effective functioning.
ZP High School has over 800 students. To make their learning experiential, the school was given a thematic makeover. The school walls celebrate the spirit of India by showcasing the vibrant culture of India and Andhra Pradesh under the national campaign Atulya Bharat (Incredible India) and Khelo India (Play India). The exterior walls of the classrooms are painted as train cars. The entire school compound is leveled uniformly with proper flower beds and green areas all around. Educational wall paintings keep students in constant learning mode even while playing.
The newly appointed headmaster at this school, Ms Jayaprada, says, “Students have started showing great zeal for attending classes since they find their favorite cartoon characters on the wall. Now this government school is no different than a private school.”
In order to give onus to the residents for school maintenance and quality supervision, the team established a School Development and Management Committee, comprised of five members, including parents, teachers, and residents.
Walking around the school premises, students radiate confidence and pride. This school is a living example of how infrastructure along with practical trainings play an effective role in promoting learning and development. The government school at Chilamathur has become a model school for others to emulate.