Men who matter
At the age of 23 he set out to fulfil the dreams of his father - a full-fledged educational institution with all the trappings of a regular academic body without governmental support. After toiling for over four decades, he is a contented man heading one of the oldest and well established schools in the city with a star-studded alumni list containing names like Dr. Sai Gopal (KGH Superintendent) and Mayor Rajana Ramani.
Meet P.N. Rao, the principal of V.T. College.
"I took over the reins of the school in 1964, along with my elder brother S.N. Rao, after the demise of my father P.V. Ramanaiah. The institution was started by my father in January 1947 in a small house beside the Kanakamahalakshmi Temple in the Old Town with a strength of three pupils. At that time it was the only private institution in the town, apart from missionary schools. After moving to a couple of premises, we finally settled down at the present campus in Rajendra Nagar in 1970. Today the school has a strength of over 2,000 pupils and 100 staff members," says Mr. Rao.
But even after conducting the school for over 40 years he is not happy with the way education is being imparted to youngsers in the present context.
"Schooling forms the most important part of one's life. Those are the formative days of a child. It is here that the foundations are laid. Today most schools are concentrating on coaching rather than teaching. Small nuggets of information are being fed to the students keeping in mind the examinations and the marks. Hardly a few schools aim at holistic development of a child. Unfortunately even parents support this system! Worse is the viewpoints of politicians. They link school education to literacy, which is totally a wrong concept," he avers.
According to him, school is the place where a child is groomed for the future. "It should be a combination of studies, games and cultural activities. After school hours, a child should be allowed to spend his or her time in developing varied interests and soft skills. Apart from teaching the subjects, a school should gear up to give a proper understanding of our history and cultural heritage. The West regards us more for our cultural values than intelligence, but it is sadly missing in our own schools across the country. In our school we give a lot of emphasis on such things and that is one reason why we do not go for publicity campaign like pass guarantees and 100 per cent first classes."
On the invasion of satellite channels he says, "Technology is neutral: it should be welcomed but not abused. Adopt the good points of technology and shun the bad, be it the satellite channel or Internet."
Mr. Rao is also not happy with the syllabus system followed in the country. He feels that there should a separate syllabus for the urban and rural children. "There should not be a uniform syllabus system in the country. It should vary depending on the local needs, community needs and environmental needs. In India, a majority of the village children drop out of studies after high school and take up their family profession. The syllabus that is taught to them till the high school does not help them in their professional life. The Government should seriously think of implementing subjects like agriculture, sericulture or floriculture in their school syllabus, besides regular subjects. If at all they like to pursue higher studies in some other subjects then the colleges in the city are there to help them."
"As far as my achievement is concerned I am a contented man. I have moulded the school to my liking within the prescribed framework. But I have a plan to build a residential school with all modern facilities. The land is acquired but the work is yet to begin."
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