Last Updated: September 22, 2022, 15:51 IST
Kids at Government Upper Primary school, Mithoor of Dakshina Kannada district are a happy lot now. All thanks to their first every school bus. And they got this from the areca nut crop that’s grown in the backyard of the school, tell us about being independent and self-sufficient!
This 112-year-old school has bought its own school bus without a single penny from the government or education department. The school owns 4.1 acre of land. In 2017, the School Development and Monitoring Committee (SDMC) decided to make use of that land and planted 628 areca nut saplings on one acre of this land.
Areca is a very common crop in this part of the state and is also commercially viable. The SDMC made arrangements for the plants to be taken care of. And instead of regular ‘gardening’ activity, even the kids started taking care of the plants under teachers’ guidance though in a small way.
Villagers and parents in the SDMC actively took part in this project. Last year, areca trees began to bear fruits. “We grew around six quintals of areca nut. The cost in the market was fair enough and we sold them for nearly Rs 500 per kilogram. This helped us greatly to buy the much-needed school bus” said Sanjeev Naik, a teacher at Government Upper Primary School.
“Most students come from nearby villages and have to travel through hilly terrain and cross railway lines. Many used autos, now they can all safely travel in a school bus. The bus will be maintained by SDMC. This second-hand bus cost 5 lakh rupees” said Saroja A, headmistress of the school.
Around 75 students will get to commute on the school bus on two trips every day. This safer mode of transportation has eased tension off parents for sure. The school also has a shortage of staff. And now that they know areca nut can fund a lot of things that are necessary, the committee has decided to extend the plantation beyond the initial one acre. They plan to appoint guest teachers out of this income next time.
A variety of vegetables and fruits are also grown on the school campus which are used in mid-day meals.