While 125 of the toppers are from unaided schools, 13 are from aided institutions. Besides, 42 students from government schools secured 623 marks, one bagged 622, 74 got 621 and three landed 620.
Some of the centum scorers from government schools are from farmers’ families and first in their families to go to school. They had minimal online classes and mostly relied on their dedicated teachers who travelled to their villages to teach them, sent model question papers via WhatsApp and trained them for three months in a classroom.
“My teachers came to my village for three months. We sat in a temple or under a tree to learn. It was fun to learn in our own neighbourhood, in an open area. From January to April, we had regular classes until the lockdown. After that, we interacted through WhatsApp,” said Chaitra D, who is the daughter of a farm labourer who earns Rs 250 a day. A student of Government Junior College, Bhaktharahalli, Tumakuru district, Chaitra is the first one in her immediate family to go to school.
Srikanth NR, whose father grows ragi, said his teachers used to visit his village once in 15 days during Vidyagama. “We sat under a tree and studied. They used to give us homework until they came back again. My brother, a BCom student, also helped me. I want to pursue computer science engineering later,” said the student of Government High School, Navile Maddur, Mandya, who had some live classes.
Keerthi Rajendra Kareppagol, whose father is a dailywage worker and mother an anganwadi teacher, said revision classes aired on DD Chandana were of great help. “I did not miss one single day of it. I also answered model question papers,” she said. Keerthi is a student of Government High School, Shiragavi, Belagavi. All these toppers nurture ambitions of becoming doctors/engineers.
Harshitha GS, a student from Government High School, Menasikyathanahalli in T Narasipura taluk of Mysuru district, said she was expecting 624 as she didn’t write the correct answer to a question in Kannada. “However, as the question itself was wrong, a grace mark was awarded. My dream is to become an engineer,” said Harshitha, whose father is a farmer.
Keerthana, a student of BM Government High School, Maragowdanahalli in Mandya district, said. “I was expecting full marks as I had prepared well. Teachers used to send model question papers and conduct tests every week. They prepared us keeping the new format in mind,” she said. “I am moving to Bengaluru for PU. My dream is to pursue medical education,” said Keerthana, who studied in English medium.
Srinivas C, a student from Government High School, Navilemaddur village, Mandya district, said he was confident of this score. A Kannada-medium student, Srinivas said he will choose the science stream in PU. “Closure of the school due to Covid-19 or switching to online mode of learning didn’t affect my studies,” he said.