Ten girls from Corporation schools across the city have learnt an awful lot this summer. They share their lessons with K. Sarumathi

While most children spent May not knowing where their school books lay, nor caring to find out, ten girls from Corporation schools across Chennai were carrying theirs to a class every day.

These girls were not complaining, though.

These middle school students had been adopted by a retired State Bank employee, who conducted special classes for them during the summer break at Sarada Vidhyalaya Model Girls School in T. Nagar.

R. Mohanakrishnan believes providing monetary support for a poor girl child’s education is not enough, it is also necessary to take a real interest in their studies.

Serving under the umbrella of State Bank Retired and Serving Employees’ Forum, Mohan has been helping poor girl students as part of the banks CSR project started when he was in service. “The bank has adopted over 40,000 girl students from across India and I was the coordinator for Chennai and was responsible for the education of around 250 girls,” he says. Though the bank decided to scrap the project ones exiting students passed Plus 2, individuals took it on themselves to carry forward the initiative. And retirement gave Mohan the prefect opportunity to take it up full time.

Now, he spends his time visiting schools and selecting deserving students for his special coaching classes. “I went to many corporation schools and spoke to the HMs about students who were inclined to study but needed help to do better. I will support them till they complete 12th standard and it will be not only in form of monetary help, but also continues help with their studies,” says this resident of T. Nagar.

Of the 20 students he has intended to help, only 10 finally came for the classes. The parents were the main hurdles, he says. “Most only want money, which they may or may not use for their child’s education. When you tell them they will have to send children for classes during holidays, they are reluctant and give reasons such as safety and long travel. For those who willingly sent their wards, I ensured all their fears were allied. Some of these children come from as far as Chemenchery and Thiruvanmiyur. I gave them money for the bus fare,” Mohan adds.

The three-hour classes helped children gain practical knowledge of subjects such as Maths and Science. “We are never show experiments or taught speed maths in school. Here we enjoyed the three hours of studying and got our basics cleared. We were even taken to Periyar Science and Technology Centre and learnt about the universe,” says …., who didn’t want to miss a single day of the month-long session.

Apart from regular subjects, the students were introduced to oceanic studies by an ex-IIT professor and banking techniques and art by expert in the field. For now, Mohan wants to keep the classes only during summer vacations, but ones these children enter higher classes, he is planning to conduct weekend coaching. To check on each child’s progress he will visit the school every month and get feedbacks from teachers.

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