Ashraya Neelbagh School, celebrated its Founder's Day, on August 13th with Mr. Ashok Hattangady, one of the main patrons of Ashraya, being the Chief Guest. Various sports events were held in which the children participated and did very well, which was followed by a beautiful cultural show with folk dance, music and drama.
On the Annual Day, we got an opportunity to interact with the parents and find out about what they think about Neelbagh School and how it is meeting the needs of the deserving children in the villages. Here are some of their responses-
Madappa, a construction worker, earns a meager salary of 2100 per month. His son Marilinga is in 8th standard and daughter Devamma is in 6th standard, studying at Ashraya Neelbagh School. He says - ‘First and foremost our children are given hostels to stay, which is a blessing. Being a Construction worker, I stay in Bangalore I cannot travel up and down every day, but Neelbagh School has made us free from the ‘tension’ (I think he means ‘stress’) by providing shelter to our children. ‘They are looked after very well by the affectionate teachers and kind staff. Even if our children are not well, we have no reason to worry, there is hospital care that is being given to them in our absence. AshrayaNeelbagh School not only gives education and food, but it’s just like a “sweet home” for my children. Children are allowed to play games and participate in other activities, which is good for them’, he says.
When he was asked, what he thought was different at Ashraya-Neelbagh School from other schools? He promptly responded, ‘Neelbagh School gives the children good medical attention when they are sick whereas other private schools are not doing so. And lot of private schools do not provide hostels to children. The teachers here are dedicated and affectionate. They share a good rapport with the children.' Neelbagh is the only school that lays emphasis on life skills and provides the children with vocational training. I think it is important because, tomorrow, in case they are not academically oriented, they have a skill in hand to rely on, which will help them earn a living’.
He added saying, -‘When children come out of Ashraya, they not only have education but also other skilled works with them. No other school empowers children like this!!. In School, our children are safe, and we feel that our children are at home', he smiled. 'Neelbagh is not only a school but a “Temple of Education” in the lives of the children. I know my children have a bright future in Ashraya-Neelbagh School’.
Venkatanarayana, a daily wage earner, earning a salary of about 2000 per month, says his son Karthik is in 10th standard, in Neelbagh School and daughter Shilpa Rani is studying final year, Bachelor of Science, in a college. He says, -‘Neelbagh has a very good environment for the children. All the children are getting lunch, which is very important for us, as a daily wage earner, we cannot afford to send lunch for them every day. All the children, irrespective of caste, creed, etc. are given equal care and facilities. There is no discrimination. This is very special to us!! Teachers also don’t make any discrimination. They are very humble and polite.
‘The bus facility has made our children to move without any tension’ We do not worry about their safety when they are travelling from home to school as they are going by bus’. ‘We are happy with the service offered by Ashraya-Neelbagh School. and that students learn computer, Carpentry, Tailoring and Electrical work. This is very good for their future’, he says with a beaming smile.
When he was asked, what he thought was different at Ashraya-Neelbagh School from other schools? He emphatically said,’ AshrayaNeelbagh School does not demand donations, whereas private schools demands thousands and lakhs of rupees. Meals are given to children whereas private school expects us to send packed meals for them. This is the only school with variety in education and other skills. Neelbagh School Headmaster and teachers respect the parents and hear their problems whereas private schools are not concerned with parents’ problems. Thank you for everything’.
The following workshops and enhanced learning opportunities were provided by the School:
The school continues to drive the ‘Importance of education’ and strives towards providing a holistic environment for the children by offering opportunities for all rounded development to all the children without any discrimination in the rural areas, thereby contributing to a future with educated and informed youngsters.
The SSLC results were out on 16th May and the School is very proud of our bright students who performed gloriously well and our committed team of teachers who made it happen. The School achieved 100% pass results, once again, this year, and this is one of the most important achievements of the School, in this quarter. It is the fourth consecutive year, that the School has achieved 100% pass results. Out of a total of 22 students in tenth grade, 4 students passed with a distinction (obtaining above 85%), 15 students passed in first class (obtaining above 60%), 2 students passed in second class and 1 just passed.
Two students obtained 98% in Social studies subject and turned out as Kolar District toppers in the subject, out of which one child Archana is sponsored by CIAI. As outstanding performers, they are both rewarded with a sponsorship amount of INR 15000 per annum for two years, by the State Government of Karnataka, to pursue higher studies.
Ashraya also works to help and support the bright children to pursue higher education. We liaise with other NGOs and facilitate the sponsorship of the higher education of our deserving and bright students. Two NGOs, Upasana and Prerana are currently supporting and sponsoring nine of our bright students, who have got admission in different colleges for Science and Commerce.
Ashraya-Neelbagh School was shut for the summer break from April 19th to May 19th 2012. On June 1st, the new admissions list was finalized. The Ashraya Neelbagh School’s management team screens the applications carefully to ensure that deserving children, from below poverty line families, are given admission on a priority basis. These are children of poor farmers, construction laborers and workers, who earn a meager income and live hand to mouth. They can hardly think of providing their child with quality education without support.
Thirty two students were shortlisted for LKG and other classes. The School received a total of 136 and 49 applications for LKG and other class admissions, respectively, where the number of seats available was only 32 and 16, respectively. This is a significant indicator of the performance and the reputation of the School in the District.
Currently, with the new admissions, the School has 351 students studying in Neelbagh School. During LKG admissions, as always, priority was given to children from below poverty line families and the School continues to give impetus to ‘girl child’ education in the rural area. Forty percent of the applicants, who were granted admissions in LKG, are girls and fifty percent of the students, who were given admission to other classes, are girls, thereby ensuring equal opportunities to girl children to access good quality education.
Overall, it has been a great start to the new academic year. Thank you all for your support and generous contributions towards the School that nurtures generations of rural, deserving children.
General progress -
About 11 day scholars were brought to the hostel in January so that they could focus more on their studies to prepare for their preperatory exams that were coming up in the end of January and final exams in April. Monthly tests were also held to gear them up for the finals.The tests were held frequently to evaluate their academic progress and help them in weak subjects.
January 21st -Cultural programs were held with dance, drama and music performed by Grade 7.
January 26th, being Republic day, the grand Flag hoisting ceremony was followed by a colourful cultural programme performed by the children.
Cultural and sports competitions - The monthly sports competition was held on 17th February. The boys participated in the kabadi competition and the girls in throwball. There was also a folk songs competition in which Junior and Senior school students participated very enthusiastically.
The School won the second best Eco School award in the district of Kolar, where 160 schools had applied for the award.
A. Science workshop - On February 20th, a Science workshop was organized for the children. Dr.Shonali Chinnaiah and Mrs. Sukanya Sinha from Curiosity, conducted the workshop and demonstrated many fun experiments, which the children thoroughly enjoyed. The workshop brought a practical approach to the subject and helped them understand the science theories better.
The children were very enthusiastic and participated very actively in doing the experiments.
B. Career guidance workshop – A career guidance workshop was organized on February 19th 2012 and March 12th 2012 for the benefit of the 10th grade students. Mrs. Mamata Mutt, a Professional corporate trainer and career counselor conducted the workshop. It was organized in small batches so that she could give them individual attention. The workshop was split into two sessions. In the first, Mrs. Mutt took them through all the different options, courses- diploma, degree courses, and corresponding career choices based on their areas of interest.
The second session was conducted about a week later, giving the children enough time to reflect on the discussions that were held in the last session. The children came up with their thoughts, doubts and raised questions which were addressed by her.
The Valedictory function for the 10th standard students (22 children) was held on March 16th. Many of them volunteered to speak and they expressed their gratitude to Ashraya-Neelbagh School, which gave them ‘the opportunity’ to access good quality education.
The 10th class students and their parents were counseled, independently, by Ashraya members and Neelbagh staff, regarding the importance of pursuing higher education. The objective of the session was to find out their fields of interest, educate them about different career options and its requirements, based on their individual capacities and potential. The bright and committed students who could not afford to pursue education were informed that Ashraya would find a way to help them.
On the academic front, the senior (10th grade) children have been busy preparing for the preparatory exams in January and special classes are being conducted after regular school hours to help students with difficult subjects. Teachers spend time after school hours to help slow learners. Day scholars of 10th Grade join the boarding in school in order to attend special classes. Children are seen studying very hard for the upcoming final exams in January and March.
The kids had a great time at the Cultural and Sports event that was held in the month of December. It included competitions in various sports such as baseball, cricket, etc. and cultural programmes such as dance, singing, yoga and drama. Children participated actively in various activities and the event helped to bring out their hidden talents.
The New Year's eve was celebrated with great pomp and show. The evening had special cultural programmes such as singing, dance and drama by our talented children.They enjoyed themselves and welcomed the New Year with great enthusiasm.
The School had some very special visitors recently, Shekar, an old student of Neelbagh, who is now, working in Hungary and doing very well in his career and Kate Horsburgh, granddaughter of David Horsburgh, the founder of Neelbagh School.
Shekhar's words of appreciation in our Visitors Book - ' An oasis of trees and beautiful architecture, friendly and welcoming teachers, which transpires through the kids here. I like the cleanliness!! Otherwise a very successful place that causes nostalgia to ex-students like me. Great work!!'
The academic year, the school has 334 students, of which 98 are in hostel.
The Annual Day was celebrated on August 11th 2011. Ms. Mottamma, M.L.A., Leader of Opposition Council, was the chief guest. There were many cultural activities and the highlight of the evning was a traditional folk dance of Karnataka, which is performed with cymbals. The boys learnt this dance from an expert, who was very impressed by the boys' skill. The event was a grnd success.
To quote Mrs. Mottamma, “…this is one of the finest schools in the state and the students are shining examples of the quality of the school.”
On 20th of August, our students participated in the GE Electrical Science fair held in Bangalore, where our students competed with 18 schools. We got First place on Reuse model.
On 16th of September, the District level sports competitions were held in Kolar where the children did very well. In the Primary School level, students from our school have qualified to the state level in the following events: 400mts running race, Yoga – boys & girls and Javelin.
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