Education, Hard work and Progress

Posted in Community, Education, Empowerment, Income Generation by udoit on December 6, 2009

Reducing the gap between rich and poor is an interesting and the most controversial subject for many years. One of the popular solution to that problem is reducing the gap in the early school education’s standards. President George W Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act’s focus area was to cut the achievement gap between well-off and lower-income students or between minority students and non-minority students. This post tells success story of one such a program “Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan” (SSA). SSA is Government of India’s effort to universalize elementary education by community-ownership of the school system. It is a response to the demand for quality basic education all over the country. The following paragraph is from SSA program’s monitoring report.

This school built and acquired facilities, equipment and other provisions worth Indian Rupees Rs.1,000,000 (about USD $25,000). It has Internet facility and a Science laboratory having instruments worth Rs.50,000 (about $1,250) with separate sections for Physics, Chemistry and Biology. There are separate toilets for men and women staff, boys and girls students. Each classroom has a TV. Movies and other programs are broadcasted from library and Headmaster’s room during lunch break. There is a spacious noon meal center facility that can accommodate hundred students. The school with compound wall and various blocks such as class rooms, library, lab and storage rooms looks like a college campus.

Mangudi middle school - Noon Meal center

Noon Meal center

Story Highlights 

  •  Middle school in a small village transforms its status due to a visionary Headmaster, supportive villagers, teachers and students.
  • Passion and hard work combined with Government and community involvement can make anything possible.
  •  An Institution stands for its motto “Education, Hard work and Progress“.

It is neither about a Private school nor a Public school in wealthy neighborhood of a City (State/District capital). It is about Mangudi Panchayat Union Middle School, located 7 kilometers from Aranthangi, Pudukottai District, Tamil Nadu. The Mangudi village’s population is 1,581 and 241 children study in that middle school with 0% dropout rate. If this school in a small village without proper road access can do so much, why other schools with better road access cannot do none of these? Let us see the reason.

Mr. Jothimani, Mangudi middle school’s Headmaster is the key person behind these achievements. During his 20 years of experience as school teacher and teacher training instructor (includes one year as SSA program instructor), he completed over 200 training courses on teaching and school management. All those knowledge and experience combined with his relentless efforts, enabled to create a “dream school”. Whatever he taught in SSA program about community-owned education system, was implemented in Mangudi Middle school through villagers, village education committee and Tamil Nadu Endowment Trust (a trust constituting Tamils living in all over the world).

Headmaster Mr. Jothimani

Mr. Jothimani (on the left)

“If this school in a small village without proper road access can do so much, why other schools with better road access cannot do none of these?”

Mr. Jothimani, his team and Mangudi villagers proved that poor children can get best education with community ownership and a good leadership. In summary, they reduced the gap between the Poor and Rich in village children’s school education. Mr. Jothimani is awarded Tamil Nadu state best teacher award for year 2009. It is really an honor to that award. I want to finish this post by listing more features of Mangudi middle school:

  • Promotes hygiene and health awareness among children. Children who are not able to take bath in their homes, can take bath in school bathrooms.
  • The school has separate pits for bio-degradable and non-degradable wastes. The pits are constructed at the cost of Rs.10,000 (about $250).
  • The school garden has both ornamental and medicinal plants. The school has over 50 trees like ‘Pungan’ and ‘Neem’ giving cool shade and healthy air.
  • Under a Savings Scheme, children deposit small amounts every month (recurring deposit). When they graduate out of the school, the accumulated lump sum will be handy for their higher educations.
  • Special training is given thrice a week for interested students  to develop oratory skills .
  • Received Tamil Nadu State government’s best elementary school award for 2007-08, Unicef’s ten star award for hygiene and sanitation facilities and a several awards from various organizations.
  • Students has good knowledge of desktop productivity softwares, like word processors, PageMaker and PowerPoint. Students prepare PowerPoint presentations as part of their group assignments and do presentations in their class room.
  • There are several student’s committees to oversee and do various day-to-day activities like Records maintaining, Library management, Drinking water facilities, and Hygiene oversight. 200 out of 241 students actively participate in these committees.


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