When the over 400 students of the Government UP School in Kasargod’s Pilicode returned to school after their summer vacations on Thursday, they were in for an awesome surprise. Gone were the staid white-washed walls of their school building.

Instead, the walls bore bright images of a train with blue coaches, the classroom doors morphing into the doors of the coaches. Colourful and welcoming, the walls invited the students to take a magical journey into the world of learning.

While the train dominated the front façade of the building, the back faced announced the possibility of flights of fancy, with a giant airplane, bearing the legend Pilicode Airlines, painted on it.

As part of the Kerala state government’s efforts to remodel public education in the state, the Government UP School turned to paint and colour to make the schoolhouse more inviting for its students.

Santhosh Kumar, a Malayalam teacher at the school says that the initiative was a conscious effort by the school authorities to project their school as a colorful and adventurous place for the children.

Raising Rs 2.5 lakh through crowdfunding, the school turned to local artist Sanjeesh Vengara to carry out the transformation within a month – before the school reopened.  With the school located quite close to a railway track, Sanjeesh did not look far for inspiration for his paintings, the subject of which he fixed on himself.

The school, with students from pre-primary to Class 7, saw 160 new admissions this academic year, of which, 85 students were admitted to the pre-primary classes. It functions out of four blocks, and it was the main block that underwent the dramatic transformation.

“The paintings have been made on the main building, where Classes 2 to 5 function. The children were pleasantly surprised when they walked into the campus the first day, and the building has since become an object of spectacle,” Santhosh said.

The classrooms of pre-primary students have also been renovated, with the walls adorned with paintings of cartoon characters.