CHENNAI: Even though the State government has made imparting quality education to government school students one of its important goals, many such students in several pockets in Tamil Nadu are still waiting for welfare measures such as school bags, uniforms, footwear and even textbooks.
There are many children, especially in rural parts of the State, who are seen walking to school barefoot and carrying bags that are almost completely worn out. When asked, they said the schools were yet to provide them these materials and their parents do not have the wherewithal to afford it.
A Class 7 government school student walking barefoot in Thanjavur said, “Usually, footwear and other items are given only after the textbooks are distributed. Our teachers said textbooks are expected to reach the school in the next few days and other items will be given after that.”
When checked with multiple sources, including teachers and TN Textbook and Educational Services Corporation, many of them told DT Next that the textbooks reached though only after considerable delay. But, there still are cases like in Thanjavur where the textbooks are yet to reach the students.
Depriving students, especially elementary school students, of such essential materials would lead to drastic impacts on their education and reduce interest in learning, cautioned activists. According to S Nataraj, founder of Sudar, an orgainsation working with tribal children in Erode, it is important that at least footwear is given to students, especially those from villages and hill stations, to ensure that they turn up at schools during the monsoon.
“It is important for officials to remember that these children don’t have the resources to purchase these basic materials, making it vital for the department to take proactive steps,” added Nataraj.
Educationalists point at the social inequality that would prevail if these welfare measures don’t reach the government school students. “Nowhere can we see a private school student without footwear or worn out bags, while it is a common sight among government school students. This exposes social injustice,” said an educationalist who did not wish to be named.