National Teachers Award 2021, Karnataka’s green warrior teacher among them

August 19, 2021
-Reshma Ravishanker

The Union education ministry released the list of 44 teachers from across the country conferred the National Awards to Teachers, 2021. The purpose of the National Award to Teachers is to celebrate the unique contribution of the teachers and to honor those teachers who through their commitment and industry have not only improved the quality of school education but also enriched the lives of their students.. 

Among the 44 award winning teachers is C M Nagaraja, a science teacher from the Government High School at Doddabanahalli in Bengaluru South. A champion of eco-friendly living, Nagaraja recycled a pile of broken school chairs and tables into a projector table, a newspaper stand and cupboard for use by the school’s teachers/students.

“I joined the Doddabanahalli School in 2019. I saw an opportunity to convert the campus into an eco-friendly one. It began with better waste management. I thought the dry waste could be segregated and recycled or repurposed. Wet waste could be segregated and decomposed. This was the start of a journey to give the school a eco facelift,” he says.

Besides the funds that his school managed to spare, 43-year-old Nagaraja reached out to donors, NGOs and local authorities and had a rain water harvesting system installed on-campus.

“Just to wash utensils used to serve mid-day meals and children’s plates, 1,000 ltrs of water was being used. It occurred to me that the same could be pumped into the school’s kitchen garden and reused. I introduced the basic concepts of drip irrigation and sprinkler methods to students and got them working on it. A chamber was installed and the waste water was pumped into the garden. Now, no water is wasted,” he says. Nagaraja also arranged for collection of biodegradable waste from the leftovers of mid-day meals, gardening waste from the neighborhood’s farms  and made compost on campus to be used in the school garden.

He also found an innovative way for community engagement by reusing plastic waste. “Milk for mid-day meals came in plastic covers every day.  These covers were collected over a period and washed. This was sent to the local tailors and I got covers for computer screens stitched from them,” he added. 

This science teacher also got students to apply textbook knowledge in real life. “I guided students to construct the compound wall, build rims around plants,  introduced them to Worli art and also had them paint the campus. Students had to use concepts taught in maths, physics and chemistry to make it happen. This skill development of students was appreciated by parents and the community.”

Ever since the lockdown began Nagaraja is also giving Kannada voice overs to some popular YouTube videos in English to help students learn academic concepts better. Having learnt it from a professor in London, he has also designed a ‘micro chemistry kit’ for students to conduct experiments on laminated sheets. “I collect syrup bottles from the neighbourhood and refill them with chemicals to make these kits for students. This way, it makes practical learning more accessible to students,” he said. 

Here’s the list of the winners of National Teacher Awards 2021:

List of selected teachers for NAT 2021

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