A teacher in India has gone the extra mile (technically, a few extra miles) to make sure that students stop dropping out because of how difficult it is to get to school.
Rajaram is a math and science teacher at a primary school in the small village of Baarali in Udupi, India. Each week, he noticed more and more kids had stopped showing up for school because they needed to walk nearly two miles each way through a forest to get there.
“There are no roads from the houses of the children to the school,” explains Rajaram. “There is a mud path through the forest and most of the girl students began dropping out as their families were scared of allowing their children to walk for a total of 6 km (roughly 3.7 miles) to and from school.”
So Rajaram called an alumnus of the school who now runs a property management company in
Bengaluru, a city of 12 million people. Together with another alumnus of the school, they were able to get enough money together to buy a school bus.
Of course, a bus is one thing, but a bus driver is another thing. So now Rajaram pulls double duty as both teacher and bus driver. It took a little training, but Rajaram is now a licensed bus driver.
He has to leave his house early in the morning, but with multiple loads, he’s able to make sure he gets himself and all the students to school before classes begin at 9:30.
“There are three teachers including me and a headmistress in our school,” Rajaram explains. “One of the teachers comes to school before the students from the first trip reach school. The teachers stay back in school until all the students are dropped off and I come back to park the bus.”
Rajaram used money from his own pocket to pay for gas and insurance on the bus. But his efforts have been well worth it. Since he started driving the bus, attendance at the school has increased from 50 students to 90.