Sunday, March 28, 2010

This school believes self-help is the best


M. Gunasekaran

The 60-year-old institution caters mostly to children of knitwear workers An annual fee of Rs. 350 was collected from English medium students and Rs. 60 from Tamil medium students towards teachers' salary
SEA CHANGE: The students at a prayer meeting on the school premises. - Photo: M. Balaji
TIRUPUR: For the Jaivabai Municipal Girls Higher Secondary School, self-help is the best help.
The school with 6,934 students, one of the biggest schools run by local bodies in India, has many distinctions.
The Parent-Teachers' Association (PTA) of the school has appointed 80 teachers and 10 non-teaching staff and has been paying Rs. 1.5 lakhs towards salary a month from the parents' contribution. Only 65 are Government-appointed teachers. Besides this, the PTA is spending Rs. 10,000 a month towards electricity charges.
Change for the better
A decade ago, the school was in appalling condition. Now, be it in academics or ambience, there has been a sea change with the active support of parents, says its PTA president A. Easwaran.
How could the municipal school, where mostly poor students study, get funds? Mr. Easwaran said that the school did not collect any donations from parents. But it has a transparent system.
An annual fee of Rs. 350 was collected from English medium students and Rs. 60 from Tamil medium students towards teachers' salary.
System of self-support
"When we found that support from the Government and the municipality was inadequate to run the school, we developed the system of self-support,'' Mr. Easwaran said. He recalls that the PTA had collected just Rs. 10 a year towards the salary for teachers in 1991.
The six-decade-old school caters to mostly children of knitwear workers.
Other distinctions
It has also bagged several awards. Headmistress R. Zareen Banu Begum was presented with a national award for her contribution in developing the school and it received a cash prize of Rs. 1.5 lakhs and computer excellence award from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had lauded the students at a public function for harvesting rainwater.
The school also received national awards nine times from the National Children Science Congress, for taking up study on social issues and implementing the solution at school level.
Demands of PTA
On August 15, four classrooms that were constructed by the students were opened.
They had collected Rs. 10.26 lakhs from the public.
The names of 226 students, who collected more than Rs. 1,000, have been inscribed on the wall.
Demands of the PTA include filling of 30 vacant teachers' posts, construction of auditorium and renovation of 25 old buildings

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