Nava Jeevan Trust - Project UQE Rural Thirunelveli

Project Brief: Improve the quality of education in the two selected schools in rural Thirunelveli educating 3547 students and thus create ultimately an enviable set of model schools.
Project Type: Formal Schools (description)
Primary Focus: other (description)

Secondary Focus: girls

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Chennai
Status: current / ongoing
Project Steward: Ananth ES
Project Partner(s): Nalan B
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , Tirunelveli,Tirunelveli,Tirunelveli,
TAMIL NADU  627113
Tel: 04424320430
Stewarding Chapter: Chennai
Oct 2017ChennaiUSD 7083
Aug 2017ChennaiUSD 14046

Total = $21129

The project aims to support two rural schools in Thirunelvelli District of Tamilnadu.

Sarguna Sathya Vidhyaalayaa Hihger Secondary School in the Village Mathaapattinam of Kadayam Block (Mahakavi Baarathiyaar's In-laws' area) founded in the year 1942 when the freedom fight was at its zenith, caters to the schooling of boys and girls from about 20 villages in the radius of this hamlet, at a distance of about 60 kms from Paalayamkottai Town. The total strength of the school is about 1817(854 boys and 963 girls). They are in classes from the 6th grade to the 12th grade, including English Medium sections. The school is government aided and the education is free upto secondary level and they charge a uniform fee of Rs.3000 per annum.

There are 4 sections in each grade and the total number of teachers available being 31 (22 men and 9 women). Majority are well qualified and experienced. Even though there is space there are only 24 class rooms besides an unused laboratory that can safely accommodate 6 classes with minor civil reconstruction. There is another building that can be modified to get more class rooms and for other utilities. Among the staff the work is headed by a Head Master supported by three other assistant head masters. Vast play field is available. The atmosphere save for summer is invariably on convenient climate.

The school is run by a private trust consisting of Hindus and Christians and the trustees are all settled in Chennai, the management of the local school for all practical purposes is executed by
one Mr. Gladstone and an English collegiate professor Mr. William. As such there is practically a free atmosphere without any communal bias and no evidence of proselytisation and a sort of harmony prevailing among the teachers and the taught.

In the radius of around 6 kms there is no other secondary school including the government ones.
The students are mostly hailing from the lowest strata of society and their families are from economically backward uneducated landless classes, solely dependent for their livelihood on farm and agricultural job works with which they invariably find it very hard to sustain as mostly these agrarian jobs in view of low percentage rains coupled with water table being made available on an average depth of about 300 ft. Hence the women folk try to supplement their living by undertaking the Beedi works and other minor casual labour jobs offered by sharks in the form of human race. It is indeed surprisingly astonishing that they are able to send their children to school in spite of conditions tempting enough to wean away the children for bringing much needed money to their kitty.

GRAAMA COMMITTEE HIGHER SECONDARY SCHOOL in the village Venkateswarapuram, (lying at a distance of about 45+kms from Thirunelveli Township) of Aalanguam Block founded in 1990s is a government aided institution, containing English and Tamil medium sections. The strength of the school is a total of 1730 (Boys 861 and girls 869) with 25 teachers consisting of postgraduates, Diploma Holders, B.Eds to support. And the school is catering to the needs of children from 13 villages as there is no secondary educational institute within a radius of around 7 to 8 Kms.

But as in the case of the other school the larger number of student population impedes the quality education in some manner owing to the reachability problem with the teachers. This is the case with the other school as well. However the headmaster and others felt that they would bring around the solution with some assistance from NGOs like Asha Chennai. The strata of society from where the children come in hordes, is rather on the economically weaker side. To complement/supplement the extra level of coaching, the student community needs, considering the constraints, the families encounter, is a tall order. Here also the sections are 4 for each standard from the 6th to the 12th. The school offers free education save for the higher secondary classes 11 and 12 where the students are charged a sum of Rs.3000 per annum. The school has sufficient class rooms and a vast play ground; Only the student teacher ratio is very disturbing; Both the school are housed in sylvan surroundings with beautiful pastoral scenery and so are idyllic.

Asha Chennai hopes to provide teachers to both these schools and also provide materials to make up for a wholesome learning experience. While the project has been envisioned for a number of years, it has finally been started only in the academic year of 2016-17.
The general objective is to ensure that none in the normal school going stage is left without the qualifying opportunities. The specific objective is to ensure efforts to improve the quality of education in the two schools selected in rural Thirunelveli educating 3547 students and thus create ultimately an enviable set of model schools. Since we make an effort in taking into reckoning 2 schools with large of number of students, we can be optimistic that the desired results can be achieved god willing and with our (Asha AND NJT) sustained involved dedicated approach through our modus operandi.
Asha Chennai chapter will be implementing the project directly with assistance from Nava Jeevan Trust an NGO working in the Thirunelvelli District.

The Navajeevan Trust was formed, solely with the aim of eradicating child labour, with the association of CRY(Child Relief and You) and UNICEF, Chennai, during 1985 in the blocks of Alangulam, Paappakkudy, and Keelappaavoor in Thirunelveli District. Here children were used by the families concerned themselves, in rolling beedies, to eke out a living. The only way, the Trust thought, that could mitigate the sufferings was to provide basic education to all the children, irrespective of ages. The child labour eradication programme was perhaps the first of its kind in the southern zone.

The NJT has been primarily responsible in establishing number of alternative educational centers for children. The scheme had brought in many changes in the life style of the people and the children. The trust has trained few hundred volunteers, to achieve the desired objective of providing education, not only academic, but also technical training with an eye on improving skills among the communities, and conduct campaigns, seminars and workshops, to create awareness amongst all, to achieve the goal of inculcating the habit of enrolling children into schools.