The School Education Minister Thangam Thennarasu, during his visit to the Lalgudi Boys' Higher Secondary School earlier this week, promised to arrange a lathe for the engineering laboratory meant for General Machinist programme at higher secondary level.

The Minister complimented the school for producing bright students through the vocational stream. This programme is currently available only in a handful of schools in the entire district. It was closed down by a few schools in the recent years, it is learnt.

However, of late, this programme has attracted attention of students and parents what with many from this stream succeeding in gaining entry into engineering programmes owing to the quota specified for students in vocational category.

For instance, from the Lalgudi School, more than half of the nearly 50 students who pass out every year secure seats in engineering colleges. Of the rest, a good number of them prefer to join polytechnic colleges through lateral entry whereby they complete the programme in two years and take up industry jobs instantaneously. Some students, soon after they complete Plus two, are absorbed as apprentices with

stipendiary component by companies like TVS and L & T, according to the Principal R.Ravi.

In the last academic year, 18 students scored over 1,000 out of 1,200, and in the year before last a student from the school obtained the district-first ranking in the group amongst government schools, the headmaster said, attributing the performance of the students to the dedication of their two subject teachers: Lawrence and Senthil.

Though a part-time teacher, Mr.Senthil devotes his entire time at the school, Mr. Ravi said.

The new engineering laboratory, which Mr.Thangam Thennarasu inaugurated, now sports a new look. The machineries have been shifted from a tiled-roof room to a concrete building, and the tables in the laboratory have been modified.

The Chief Educational Officer T.Mohana Kumar, who accompanied the Minister during his visit, assured to prevail upon one of the schools in the district, where a lathe was lying idle after closure of the higher secondary stream, to spare the same for the Lalgudi school, sources added.