In Tamil Nadu's Villupuram stands a government school that recites a tale of a teacher who has pushed the envelope of sacrifice for the purpose of quality education. Meet Annapoorna Mohan, who has transformed a government classroom at her own expense by selling her jewellery.
With colourful furniture, an interactive smartboard, and stacks of exciting books, it’s hard to believe this third-standard classroom could be found in a government school.
Considering the setbacks any rural classroom has, Annapoorna decided to actively contribute rather than just whining about the lack of facilities. In a report by TNM, she said,
I tried to create a good environment for English in my classroom. I conversed with my students in English from the beginning of the class till the end. In the beginning, some of them didn’t understand it, but in time, they began to respond.
Annapoorna, an English teacher at Panchayat Union Primary School (PUPS), Kandhadu wanted her classes to be more effective. She intended to work on pronunciation, grammar, and language which required better infrastructure. She further added,
Teachers in Tamil Nadu don’t use this system and teach English by parroting, which builds a fear of English in students. Through phonetic basics I taught them the sounds, which helped them read out complicated English words.
Annapoorna has been uploading videos of her classes and the children speaking in English on Facebook. Owing to the great results shown by the students, this exercise has brought the spotlight on her and the keen interest in making a tangible difference in their lives.
Talking about the transformation, she said,
I decided to do it by myself because I did not want to burden anyone. Doing it myself also helped to get it done more efficiently, as I did not have to rely on anyone else.
The school and the teacher have turned messiah to students in the Villupuram district, with funds pouring in from the time the media caught wind of the developments. Annapoorna said,
“The standards of teaching in government schools are not as good as those in private schools, and parents pay lakhs of rupees for education that is offered for free. With a little bit of effort, government schools can also provide quality education for families who cannot afford the fees of a private school.
A report by Live Mint stated,
There are five times more primary schools than there are secondary schools. At the state level, this discrepancy becomes even more stark. The worst performer in this regard is Bihar with a ratio of 13.3:1 while the most balanced is Chandigarh with a ratio of 1.2:1.
The reason for this skew is a sharp rise in small schools (enrolment of fewer than 60 students), and these are all primary schools