A Successful Model for Indian Language Schools is SRI RAMA VIDYAKENDRA, Mangaluru

  • Know about education, the Bharatiya Way, provided by Sri Rama Vidyakendra, Mangaluru and the school’s Annual Sports Day. Language is Kannada. Lots to learn.  

It was a last minute invitation from my friend Balkrishna Bhandari that led me to Kalladka near Mangaluru for the annual sports event of Sri Rama Vidyakendra, a Kannada medium school i.e. about 30 kilometres from this famous city in Southern Karnataka. This event took place after two years of Covid enforced restrictions.


The school was founded in 1980 and has 3,500 students today. The school attracts students from Mangaluru and 22 villages close to the school.


Before the evening programme of the spectacular Annual Sports Day was unveiled, visitors from outside were taken around the primary school classes to showcase their training methodology and learnings imbibed by young children.


Many of the training methodologies (traditional Bharatiya learning tools) for nursery and primary students were quite different from the instruments and gadgets that we see in elite schools. Traditional tools give results that new age schools strive to give.


Young pre-school students are allowed to do chores they wish to but are not allowed to do at home. These very activities train them in using their faculties- physical and mental, very well.  Their lessons begin with folding the yoga mat after doing simple yoga. They sweep and mop the floor. They are shown a vegetable or fruit in school to be brought from home (there is no note for the parents). They are then allowed to cut and chop vegetables and clean rice or lentils. This is used to learn measures by pouring them into glasses and cups.


Various simple wooden gadgets are used to explain to them the idea of length, width, height and matching shapes. They learn basic arithmetic from those traditional wooden gadgets, threading a bead through big holes and progressively smaller ones and so on. They do puja and blow conch, all on their own. We were assured that not one child had got injured while using knife or any instrument. No Conch shell has been broken due to mishandling by children.

Students class 1 chanting Holy Geeta.

We were welcomed in Sanskrit by KG students. Next we heard standard I students reciting the Holy Geeta from memory and standard IV students enacting the famous Panchatantra story of the thirsty crow in Sanskrit and an enjoyable manner.

Primary School Cottages

The primary classes are organised in cottage like structures where around 600 students study. Their games are innovative. They have a splash pool too.

 New school building. Old school building. 

The seniors’ school is a simple no-frills, non-airconditioned building. 


Sri Rama Vidyakendra is not an experimental school but one with 3,500 students. The school has been nurtured by Dr Prabhakar Bhat, a MD by qualification, who left his medical practice to get into education as a life mission. He was a senior RSS office bearer before he took this leap of faith.


While we were digesting the success of this innovative school, we were taken to the grounds for a display of the prowess of the students in other aspects of education that the school excels in. Frankly speaking, I never expected a school sports day to be such a huge event. The temporary stands were packed with thousands of parents and well-wishers.  


The programme was for three hours. It was unbelievably professionally organised with clock-work like precision and fascinating, breath-taking and thrilling performances. Not a moment was wasted and the smallest details were minutely planned. The simple looking teachers were in command with their pupils enthusiastically out to make them proud. 


The scope the ‘show’ was varied. I was forever anticipating “what next”. The military music band for the parade was an ensemble of hundreds of students (may be more than a thousand), the yogasana drills, para-military parades with stunts that are performed by a professional army, traditional martial arts like Malkhamb, Niyuddha (based on Kalarippayattu), dare devil stunts by both boys and girls on cycles, bikes and with fire and scintillating dances. I also enjoyed imaginatively done formations, throbbing drums and kirtanas-you name it and it was there. From the youngest child, to the senior boys and girls everyone participated.

 Throbbing drums and dances during Sankeertana.  Boys & Girls diving through rings of fire.

I would say that the show was at par with any national or international opening or closing ceremony or similar events. The most interesting part was that the entire event was not organised by any professional event management company with trained artists, but one ‘desi’ high school, managed by teachers and students. 


Such is the popularity of this event that the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri Bommai and four states ministers along with scores of visitors from Mumbai etc were present.

Sports Day pics.

 Garba with tying and untying of cloth.

Looking at the quality of education and extra-curricular activities, you won’t be surprised to know that since the last two years that many students have moved from English medium schools to this Kannada medium one! 


That is why I believe that Sri Rama Vidyakendra provides us with an ideal model of a successful Indian language school. 


It is a school that educates children with Bharatiya educational ethos and does not copy paste ‘convent’ or high cost ‘public school’ models. The urge to create literate, well-educated disciplined youth with well-rounded personalities, dedicated to national well-being bears fruits. 


The introduction on school website reads, the institution is determined “to inculcate national thought along with developing physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual potential of the students, with humane values.” 


Looking at the results, we can surely say that Dr Prabhakar Bhat and his team of educationists, karyakartas, teachers and well-wishers have successfully translated this vision in action. The school has added higher education to its portfolio and constructed a new building for it.


I would humbly request educationists and volunteer organisations to visit this school and learn age old ideas. This may help them unlearn concepts on what constitutes a good school and educational model.


For more details, visit school website


Author Dr Ratan Sharda is an author, researcher and well-known TV panellist. 

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