The executive trustee of the Amruthur Education Trust, Mr. A. S. Ramamurthi, who has played a singular role in the development of the school since its very inception, captures the history of the schools in his own words below.
The process of starting a private girls' high school at Amruthur began in 1981. Somebody from outside Amruthur wanted to start the school. But a few of the local people did not want an outsider to start a school at Amruthur. Since they were not in a position to take up the venture, in a body they came to me and put before me the proposal and wanted me to take the lead in starting the school. I asked for some time to think over the matter. But they did not leave at it and began to put pressure on me. Knowing well it would be a difficult job, I accepted. I had absolutely no experience in the field and had find out a way to proceed.
The immediate task was to form a body of proposers to write down a memorandum of articles, to form a society, and to get it registered. The society was registered as the Amruthur Education Society. The next task was to find out a place to run the school, to find students for the school, and more importantly, to find teachers to teach in the school. With utmost difficulty, all the above things were completed, though not to my complete satisfaction. Then came the question of finance which remained a problem for quite a long time.
In 1982, with quite some difficulty, we could get a Girls' High School sanctioned by the Government of Karnataka. The school was started in a single small room without any furniture. Within a week of starting the school, the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) decided to inspect the school. Somehow we could face it and were successful in creating a good impression.
We decided to shift the school to a bigger place and got the same building where Nehru High School had been run earlier; of course with the condition that the owner does not ask rent for atleast four to five months as we had no money to pay. I had to think of somebody else for financial assistance. I persuaded Mr. A. N. Jayaram and Mr. B. J. Jeevendriah to involve themselves in the school activities. Mr. Jayaram was made the president and Mr. Jeevendriah the treasurer and I continued to be secretary. After one year of starting the school, we had to get the school recognised by the Education Department, for which we had to deposit Rs. 30,000.00 as a stability fund. Having Mr. Jayaram and Mr. Jeevendriah on the committee made things a bit easy for me.
Towards the end of 1985, we decided to get a trust registered, having Mr. Jayaram, Mr. Jeevendriah, and me as the founding trustees. After the trust being registered, all the financial transactions were shifted to the trust. The trust took up the whole responsibility of running the schools in a proper way. The trust decided to acquire a site for the construction of school buildings and playground. Accordingly, revenue lands within Amruthur were searched after and a plot belonging to about five to six people was located. Mr. Jayaram came forward to finance for the purchase of four acres and ten guntas of revenue land from nearly five different people. Efforts to put up buildings for the schools began, and we found philanthropists for the construction of class rooms.
There was a primary school being run by another management, who were unable to run the school. That management agreed to hand over the primary school to our management and in 1987 we took over the management of that school also.
Till the school was admitted for grants, it was a big problem to pay the teachers, even though they were being paid a very meagre amount. The Jilla Parishat (which had to pay the salaries to the teachers) was reluctant to recognize nearly twenty schools in Tumkur district for grants. Our committee had to take a leading part in persuading the Jilla Parishat to recognize all the twenty schools. We organised the teachers of all twenty schools to sit in for a upavasa satyagraha (hunger strike) in front of the Jilla Parishat office for four days. A few teachers fell ill and had to be admitted to hospital. At last, in 1989, the Jilla Parishat came to terms and recognized all the schools for grants, including our girls high school. All the teachers of the twenty schools expressed their gratitude to our committee for having taken the leading part in getting their schools admitted for grants and paving way for them to get their salaries, that being their livelihood. In 1996, our primary school was also admitted for grants by the Jilla Parishad.
Usually managements running private schools extract donations from teachers at time of appointing them. But our management decided not take any donation from any one of the teachers. This was, and continues to be, a very rare decision among private managements. Even big established private educational institutions do not give employment unless teachers pay the donation the management fixes. This decision was appreciated by one and all. By this decision, the management could select teachers based only on merit and we now have a dedicated faculty on the rolls.
The girls' high school was converted into a co-education high school in 1992, by opening a separate section for boys in the eighth standard. We took permission to admit boys to the eighth standard and, as the strength of students increased, we got permission to open one more section for boys as well as for girls. Separate restrooms for girls and boys were provided. Mr. Jeevendriah took interest in providing a bore-well and Dr. A. N. Balasundaram provided a deep-well pump. Thus the students could get drinking water facility. We could get the entire school building electrified. Also, in 1998, the trust applied for and got tax exemption under Section 80G of Indian Income Tax Act. This has helped the trust in getting donations from many more well-intentioned individuals, bringing the schools to their present stage.
In 1997, Mr. Jeevendriah had a massive cardiac attack and passed away. He had been of immense help in the development of the schools. This was really a big blow to the trust. A class room was donated by him and his name was inscribed on it. Dr. Balasundaram took his place in the trust.
As we entered the new millenium, in 2000, we came to know that there is a scheme with the Ministry of Human Resources Development of the Government of India to finance educational institutions for furthering sports. Their condition was, if we came up Rs. 3,05,000.00, they would match the amount. Once again Mr. Jayaram came forward to donate for the sports hall in memory of his father. After gathering the money on our side, we had to persist for nearly three years to get the matching grant. With this money, we constructed a big multi-purpose sports hall surrounded by eight class rooms. The hall was for sports like badminton, etc. In front of the hall and adjoining it were six rooms for purposes specified by the ministry. Above these rooms another hall was constructed. In front of these buildings came the childrens' park, the same being donated by Mr. Jayaram in memory of his mother.
Very recently, in 2006, six more class rooms, all furnished, were added, along with a big building as kitchen for the preparation of midday meal to all the students on all school days. Construction of two more class rooms is in progress.
These words portray the amount of effort and determination that has gone into growing these schools. The account below is a victory of persistence over circumstance, of determination over inexperience, and of human generosity over scarcity.