Wednesday, 20 June 2007


How does one explain this?
A plug of an report on a ‘model school’ in Canacona first appears on page 4 of the Herald on June 12 and then out of the blue resurrects itself on June 17 as a front page lead with a six column display.
We are thankful to a reader who spotted this and informed us.
So, now what? Does one call this a mistake and ignore it? A mistake, repeated at how many levels. These are symptoms of newspapers being managed like fiefdoms, without checks and balances, where whims serve as rules and personal likes/dislikes, performance barometers.
So for this story to appear twice, on how many levels did a failure occur?
1) This story appears like a stinking plug or a trade-off of some sorts. A typically moffussil BJ. This is just the kind of story which is written after a well stuffed dinner. Such a story twice repeated simply cannot be justified in a newspaper, especially when it sums up with a sentence like this. -- ‘A dancing-ball fountain well-placed in-front of this school building catching eye of every visitor.’
So is it a plug, or perhaps Herald continues to sell editorial space even after elections. Or perhaps even simpler, it was simply an order from the boss.
2) So the correspondent has sent in the story. In normal circumstances the story would have hit the mailbox of the ‘In’ tray of the ‘news editor’ or the designated ‘deputy news editor’. Now since this is the Herald, we have a different story altogether. The ‘News Editor’ here doesn’t do news. The poor chap does everything but news. He does gossip. He does the timetable. He does the silent monk routine, when it comes to decision making. He does the hatchet jobs for the owner. All of it, but the news. A nice guy, but in the wrong job. The Deputy News editor… aah, what doesn’t he do. Though the bugger possesses a fair sense of news, he is so immersed in his advertising interests, poaching ads from folks who walk into newspaper offices with condolence notices. Ok, where were we… ya in normal circumstances the report would have hit their desk. But here we have another tier a guy in charge of correspondents. This would be the desk where the report must have first landed.
3) The correspondent in-charge appears to have subbed the story rather loosely on the day it appeared first. And the perfectionist that he is, he must have realised his folly, when he saw it in print. And to make amends place it on the front page over a six column spread. (joking of course).
But somewhere between all these guys, the reprint ought to have been stopped somewhere. The repeated failure to stem such errors clearly points out to a systemic failure in the newspaper. One would have understood a page 1 story being reprinted somewhere in the inner pages, but a page 4 story making another appearance in a redone Page 1 avataar is something else altogether.


Sadolxem govt run school resurrected
Herald Correspondent
Agonda JUNE 11 – When reports of a few government run schools functioning in private residences due to dilapidated government buildings made headlines in Canacona, here's one school started in 1932 but partly housed in a building constructed by government in the year 1936 is being referred as a model school of Goa.
Rationally, to call a government run school `a model school' that too from a remote region of Canacona taluka seems to be nothing less than a `lunacy'. But the facts visibly seen in implementation of various projects, it's maintenance, the surroundings, but for upfront academic results speaks all in itself when one visits this government run high
school situated at Sadolxem, in Canacona taluka.
According to sources, due to non-activities and disastrous results, the strength of this dying school privately started in the year 1932 had drowned to a meager 39 pupils at the fag-end of academic year of 2002-03. Various recommendations poured from different government agencies to close-down this lowly attended school, which is surrounded by other various prestigious schools now easily accessible with-round-the clock transportations, till it was rejuvenated in the coming years after initial objections thwarted closure moves by some of the vibrant energized locals.
With a task in mind, headmaster Ulhas V Bhatikar a local resident on getting his posting at this school, surprisingly increased the attendance to over 100 pupils in the year 2004-05. This year (2006-07) saw 90 students enrolled with 8 students having answered the recently concluded SSC examinations. Bhatikar has all the plans and innovative refreshments to achieve enrollment to over 100 again in coming academic year.
Unlike in any government run schools, the collective efforts of present teaching faculty under the inventive guidance of Ulhas V Pai Bhatikar, head master of this school in not only imparting education from books but allowing students to excel in whatever activities the child prefers have not only increased the schools' strength, but virtually converted the school compound consisting of 4900 sq mtrs of land a `learner's paradise'.
Bhatikar's typical slogan `a child should feel free and homily and no amount of pressure should be imposed at the place of studies' has brought hope and inspiration amongst the parents whose wardens were considered useless by other high-profile schools.
According to Bhatikar, a horde of projects starting from project-Clay Models, Project-Bird's Care Center, Project-Preparation of Formula Charts, Project-Match and Sketch, Project: Plantation of Wheat Crop, Project-Labelling Plants inside school compound, Project-Grammatical charts, Project-Herbal Plantation, Project-Honey-Bee, Project-Childrens Park, Project Rope Climbing, Project Shanti Niketan-Open Classroom has inculcated immense discipline and
activities amongst the students.
Implementation of all these projects have made this `a school with difference' in Goa have been an envy of other aided schools with non-belonging to government runs schools coming even close to comparison.
According to Bhatikar, most importantly the students community and their parents have learnt to take care of governments property as their own.
Amongst the various projects maintained by students themselves is `dancing-ball' fountain placed well in-front of this school building catching eye of every visitor.
Model school for others indeed!
Herald Correspondent
Agonda, June 16 — Many government run schools in Canacona have always been in the limelight for the wrong reasons, either for their dilapidated structures or for functioning in private residences.However, a Government High School (GHS) at Sadolxem, partly housed in a building constructed by government in 1936, is being described as a ‘model school’ of Goa.
Starting as a private school in 1932, the Sadolxem GHS saw its student strength dwindling over the years, eventually plunging to 39 students in 2002-03.
Pressure was then applied to close the school due to poor attendance, until concerted efforts by its principal Ulhas V Bhatikar and some locals enabled the school to make a remarkable turnaround.
After getting posted to the school, Bhatikar, a local resident, increased the student attendance from 100 pupils (2004-05), 90 (2006-07) to a decent 120 (2007-08).
The school has also earned accolades for its extra-curricular activities, with students being encouraged to pursue ‘projects’ of their interest. The school compound, consisting of 4900 sq mtrs of land, has been turned into a ‘learner’s paradise’, to the envy of other schools in the taluka.
“Children should feel free and no pressure should be imposed on them in school,” says Bhatikar.
Various projects available at the school include clay models, bird’s care center, preparation of formula charts, match and sketch, plantation of wheat crop, identification of plants, grammatical charts, dancing ball, herbal plantation, honey-bee, children’s park, rope climbing and Shantiniketan (Open Classroom).
“Students and their parents have learnt to take care of government’s property as their own,” says Bhatikar.
While the ‘dancing-ball’ fountain, maintained by the students, in front of the school building has drawn praise, the ‘honey bee’ project is located in a makeshift house.
“The stubborn and adamant attitude of children evaporates when they are given physically and mentally challenging exercises,” justifies Bhatikar.
The school backyard has been enriched with herbal plants and fruit yielding trees like pepper, wheat, banana and guava. Besides ‘yoga’ is also imparted to students to enable them to concentrate on studies, taking a break from television and other distractions.
In fact, every inch of the school compound is meticulously put to use, even though the main school building, built in 1936, cries for repairs.
Such has been the kudos to the school, that the Visitor’s Book includes praise from politicians and bureaucrats, with a former chief minister describing it as ‘a model school for the rest in Goa’.


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