CHENNAI: Despite the Directorate of Tamil Development initiating a slew of programmes with high cash prizes over the years, the participation among students for Tamil programmes or Tamil-based competitions has been relatively dull.
Lack of awareness about competitions and the Directorate’s dependency on the School Education Department to coordinate events are cited as some of the reasons.
In the State-wide competition held between classes 6 and 12 for Tamil Nadu Day on July 18, only a meagre 1,214 and 1,208 students participated in essay and speech competitions respectively. With Rs 22,000 for each district, the department allotted Rs 16.72 lakh cash prize.
Subsequently, for the same State-level competition, only 37 and 36 students participated in the essay and speech competitions across Tamil Nadu. The Directorate had allotted the highest cash amount of Rs 1 lakh for each competition.
Furthermore, in the speech competition held for college students on the birth anniversary of Kalaignar Karunanidhi on June 3 (Friday), 178 boys and 524 girls (overall 702 students) participated in the event across the State. With Rs 10,000 for each district, the Directorate had allotted Rs 3.80 lakh as cash prize for the event.
Meanwhile, the Thirukkural recital competition, launched by former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi in 2000, has also met with a lukewarm response.
According to the scheme, a student who recites the entire 1,330 couplets will be awarded Rs 10,000. From the launch of the competition in 2000 till 2022, only 688 students have participated in the event, as per Directorate of Tamil Development.
N Arul, Director, Tamil Development, said, “The response among students for Thirukkural competition is drastically declining. However, we’re discussing on segregating the events as per classes such as junior, sub-junior and senior levels, which will be announced after discussions.”
Additionally, as the Thirukkural recital did not elicit an enthusiastic response among students, Minister Thangam Thennarasu (Dept of Tamil official Language and Tamil Culture) removed the seal of awarding only 70 students this year.
“He also confirmed revising the cash prize for the competition. Due to this, in 2021, a total of 219 students participated and received a cash prize for Thirukkural recitation,” added the director.