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Government Lower Primary School

2021: a treehouse

G Rajendra, July 4, 2021: The Times of India

As all classes went online due to the Covid-induced lockdown after the second wave in April, this teacher from Mullur Village, Somwarpet in Kodagu, about 250km from Bengaluru, found a unique solution to overcome patchy internet issues. C S Satheesha, a 37-year-old government schoolteacher, decided to build a bamboo platform atop a tree so that he could continue to teach kids from his high perch.

Satheesha, who teaches students from Class 1 to 5 at the Government Lower Primary School in Mullur, says it took him two months to build his treetop classroom. “I spent about Rs 10,000 to build it, which included lighting,” he adds. The material required — bamboo, hay and gunny sacks — was acquired with the help of friends. Now, the platform is where he goes to hold classes in English, maths and Kannada.

‘Thanks to our teacher, we did not miss a single class’

This out-of-the-box idea was inspired by makeshift watchtowers (locally called “Atta-palli”) that villagers use during the harvest season to keep an eye on elephants and wild boars that could destroy their crops.

Since it is at a height of 20 feet, the problem of weak reception has been overcome. He also helped organise some extra smartphones for students while others were taught using conference calls. His students appreciate the effort he has made. “Our teacher is really great. Because of his innovative mind, we did not miss any classes,” says Punya, a student of class four.

Following his success story, Karnataka primary education minister S Suresh Kumar has taken up the issue of connectivity in rural areas and urged CM B S Yediyurappa and chief secretary P Ravi Kumar to intervene and get service providers to fix network problems. “I have written to them requested them to call a meeting of service providers to enable connectivity in these areas,” he said.

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