(G.N.S) Dt. 30
A school that was started as part of the freedom movement to imbibe nationalist ideals among students eventually grew into one of the most reputed educational institutions in the State, running as many as 17 schools and colleges, and having an illustrious alumni. This year, the National Education Society (NES) turned 100. The first school — National High School — was started in 1917 near Tharagupet in Bangalore (and shifted to Basavanagudi the following year) by theosophist and Congress leader Annie Besant, along with 10 other schools across the country.
The NES went on to start a host of other institutions, most famous among them being the National Colleges in Basavanagudi and Jayanagar. The first school remains one of the few successful privately run Kannada-medium schools in the city today, with over 700 students. The NES also runs schools in Kolar and Chickballapur, which, put together, have over 1,600 students learning in Kannada medium. D.V. Nagesh, headmaster of the National High School, Basavanagudi, however, said enrolment for the Kannada-medium section was slowly dwindling, though it continues to be “healthy” in rural areas. A.H. Rama Rao, president of the NES, said what sets the institution apart from others is the fact that its governing council is elected once every two years without any sectarian bias, giving it a very democratic character. As the NES has turned 100, old-timers fondly remember the days of H. Narasimhaiah, freedom fighter, rationalist and educationalist, whose 69-year association with the institution started as a student and went on till he held its reins. So much so the college’s name became synonymous with his.
(G.N.S) Dt. 30