Visit to a neighbouring school - A heart warming experience
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Our visit to the Kolapakkam Government High School near our school, Lalaji Memorial Omega International School, was truly an eye-opener. We had a chance to interact and get to know the children from rural areas.
We observed the school to be a piece of ground with about 4-5 small blocks scattered around. The medium of teaching is Tamil, our regional language. The government provides uniforms, school bags, footwear, geometry and pencil boxes, notebooks and textbooks and an atlas to every child. It also provides a television to every school. Schooling hours are from 9 am to 4 pm with a lunch break in between.
The school extended a very warm welcome to all of us. Our team of ten students divided into small groups of three and four and went to various classrooms to spend time with the children. The students were very friendly, bubbling with enthusiasm to talk to us and make new friends. They were very open-minded and spontaneously came up with stories and incidents to share. We sang together, some even danced and all of us had a lovely time together. We learnt that most of the students joined in the 1st grade and their favourite subject was Social Science. They have extra-curricular activities like drawing, singing, dancing, yoga and sports. They have inter-school competitions and very often take part in them. They also have value education classes which includes the narration of moral stories. Most of them said they loved coming to school and that they had a great time.
But, the school had insufficient staff, poor infrastructure (lavatories, drinking water, benches and tables, sports equipment etc.), no school buses available and no special infrastructure to train the differently-abled. Most of the parents do not attend parent-teacher meetings as they are daily -wage workers and don't have the time to come to school.
According to the mid-day meal scheme, all government schools provide lunch to the staff and students. Alarmingly, we found that there is only one lady who cooks for the entire school; 100+ students. She cannot afford to take a single day off as there is no one else to cook for the children. She gets only Rs. 3000 as her monthly salary which is pretty less. The Government promised them with cylinders in June 2013, but they still haven't been provided. So, she cooks the meals with firewood!
It is heart warming that these poverty-stricken people, with so little money and resources can smile throughout the day and be happy and cheerful, sometimes happier than us! Our school has decided to adopt the school and provide them with snacks at least once every day, blackboards and cupboards and allow them to use our school laboratories and sports ground.
We never knew how the time passed by. We felt we were one among them and waved goodbyes, promising to visit them again soon.