This Karnataka government school has just one student
Even as the Karnataka government plans to shut schools with low strength, there is an Urdu-medium school, some 65kms from Mysuru, running with just one student and two teachers. Another Urdu-medium school in the same locality faces the same fate. However, these schools cannot be closed down since these were "exclusively set up for the educational needs of the minority community," said officials.
The Government Lower Primary School in Yaremanuganahalli village, Krishnaraja Nagar taluk, has just one student: Nayeema Khan. She reaches the school sharp at 9:30AM and spends six hours under the tutelage of Sabia Sultan and Nagaraju, who teach her Urdu and Kannada, respectively. She's been doing this for the last three years. Daughter of an agricultural laborer, eight-year-old Nayeema is a Class III student.
This Urdu-medium school was the first exclusive institution, set up 60 years ago. Earlier the school had many students, but as time passed by, the numbers dwindled as families shifted to urban pockets and got their wards admitted to Kannada-medium schools, pointed out Yaseen Shariff, Yaremanuganahalli resident. His village has predominantly Muslim population and the schools were opened for them, he added.
The other Urdu-medium school situated in Hanasoge village, 7kms from Yaremanuganahalli, has a slightly better situation. It at least has six students in the lower primary school (Urdu), but only one teacher. This was also another exclusive school set up for the Muslim children.
Block Education Officer of Krishnaraja Nagar acknowledged the low enrolment rate in these schools but said, "It doesn't mean that their (teachers) services are going waste." They teach in a nearby Kannada-medium school too, and as long as students are attending, "there's no question of closing it down. If there is no student, the teachers will be definitely shifted to another school."
Separately, last month, government data revealed that there are 261 lower primary schools in Karnataka with zero students but 229 teachers. Further, in all the 21,486 lower primary (or elementary) government schools, there are 41,786 students enrolled. That means there are 1-2 students/school. Moreover, there are 14,712 schools which have less than 30 students residing. Even in these schools, 25,550 teachers are working.