Meet B Kotresh, a Karnataka Teacher who introduced children’s magazine which has restored hopes of several students in a Government school in Raichur’s Sindhanur taluk. He transformed the entire ruined school into creative and learning classrooms.
Hope for students
Government Higher Primary School in Belagurki village, Sindhanur taluk, Raichur district was in a ruined condition. Lack of infrastructure, the dilapidated school building had poor learning facilities which made the villagers ignore the school.
“I observed that the dropout rate was extremely high in the school and my first challenge was to change this. It did not help that the school had no infrastructure,” B Kotresh spoke to The Better India.
It was at this time that Kotresh decided to take some serious steps to restore the learning environment. He observed that the students had a greater interest in art and drawing activities and thus, started engaging them in art and craft activities.
The birth of Pencil magazine
It was in 2013, Kotresh decided to start a school magazine—Pencil. The main reason behind this initiative was to get the students involved in something creative and make them feel accountable for it.
Every month the Pencil Magazine publishes a minimum of 500 copies, which is then distributed among the readers. There are also various sections in the paper of which two are very popular – ‘Kelona Banni’ (Let’s ask) and ‘Nammoora Parichaya’ (Let us know our village).”
“This costs me Rs 4000 each month and I have been putting this money every month from my pocket. There was so much enthusiasm amongst the students. I don’t think anything had held their fascination and attention for so long. They felt very proud of working on the magazine. For a year, I got a grant from the Indian Foundation of Arts and that helped,” he says.
It’s now a decade and the school has undergone a complete makeover with a new compound wall, good infrastructure, drinking water, clean toilets, a sports room, library, and four new classrooms. All thanks to the success of Pencil magazine.
“We carry reports of festivals and community events, stories, poems, essays, articles on social issues and even painting,” a class 7 students said.
The publication is not only reaching the students but also attracting parents and people at large in the region. Though this remote village is still far from any daily newspaper, residents have become regular readers. Additionally, Pencil even arrives at Bengaluru where it has firm readers.