This teacher bought a bus to keep his students in school
Instead of letting his students trek three kilometers through the forest, this Indian teacher raised money to buy a bus and drive them to and from school every day.
Almost any teacher who loves their job would do anything to make sure their students receive the education they receive. Rajaram, a math and science teacher at the Baarali Government Higher Primary School in India's Karnataka state, took this determination to his students' success to the next level.
About a year ago, Rajaram began to notice that a growing number of students stopped showing up for class, as they had to trek more than three kilometers through the forest to reach the school.
“There are no roads from the houses of the children to the school," Rajaram told the News Minute. "There is a mud path through the forest and most of the girl students began dropping out as their families were scared of allowing their children to walk for a total of 6 km to and from school.”
Determined to make a difference, the devoted teacher reached out to one of the school’s former students to come up with a solution.
“The children were dropping out quickly and with the headcount in our school falling low, we were at the threat of shutting down, too. One evening, I had finished counting how many children had dropped out and I was upset. Every week at least five to six students were not turning up. I called up one of our former students – Vijay Hegde - and proposed the idea of buying a bus to pick up and drop the children,” Rajaram said.
Eventually, Rajaram and two of his former students were able to save enough money to buy a bus for the school. Rajaram couldn't afford to hire a driver for the bus, which would have cost at least another $100, so he decided to drive the bus himself.
“I live on the meagre salary of a government school teacher. I could not afford to pay for a driver. Hence, I decided that I would learn how to drive the bus and do the task myself,” he adds.
Rajaram worked to get a license to drive the bus and began a pick-up and drop-off service for the students. As soon as Rajaram began his daily trips, the school’s attendance rose from 50 to 90.
Every school day, Rajaram leaves home early in the morning and completes four pick-up trips by 9:20 am.
“The school starts at 9.30 am and I make sure that all students are on time. There are three teachers including me and a headmistress in our school. One of the teachers comes to school before the students from the first trip reach school. The teachers stay back in school until all the students are dropped off and I come back to park the bus,” Rajaram says.
Rajaram spends money from his own pocket on vehicle insurance and diesel for the bus. And he already knows what his next project is going to be: he wants to construct a track for the school so the students can practice 100m and 200m sprints for track events.
“I am thinking of constructing a fence around the school and also a track so children can practice sports. The problem is I don’t have enough money. I have reached out to the alumni of the school and asked if they will help. So far, there is money trouble but I am sure we will surpass that hurdle as well. The children will be motivated to attend classes if there are sports and other activities,” Rajaram added.