Around 200 students of a hostel in Royapuram are preparing for competitive exams

Quality of food, condition of the rooms, and poor sanitation are issues that haunt the students residing in the Government Adi-Dravidar Hostels in the city. However, these do not deter a group of the students from pursuing their dream of landing government jobs.

At a public hearing on the state of the hostels here on Wednesday, students said they were determined to study in the face of the challenges. “The facilities in the hostels are inadequate and have to be improved. We also want educational support, including libraries, to help us come up in life,” M. Madan Kumar, a first-year post graduate student.

Around 200 students from the Government P.G. students' hostel for men in Royapuram are preparing for various competitive examinations, including the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) Group I and II examinations. Many of them are also scheduled to take the Village Administrative Officer (VAO) exam on Sunday.

“We pool our money to purchase general awareness books, previous years' question papers and other material to prepare for the exams,” says Suresh Kumar, a post-graduate student of Pachaiyappa's College.

The room fund, as the money collected is called, also help the students buy newspapers. “In our room, we subscribe to three dailies, one English and two regional language, to develop our language proficiency,” he says.

Most students who hail from villages are working towards improving their proficiency in English. “When we take up part-time jobs and while travelling, we learn new words,” Mr.Suresh Kumar says. In the evenings, students have group discussions and debates on current issues and developments. Recently, one hostel resident was selected in the National Eligibility Test (NET) for a lecturer's post, three by the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) and four were chosen as constables, says Mr.Madan Kumar.

As affordable accommodation is not easily available, rural students often share space with “seniors” in the hostels. Senior students also guide the new entrants on the city colleges and courses.

Students such as G. Murugan, a former resident of the hostel presently pursuing M. Phil at the University of Madras, occasionally drop in to guide students to take up various competitive examinations. “Since most students come from modest backgrounds, we want to help them to come up in life. I sometimes visit the hostel and talk to students about the NET and TNPSC examinations, their pattern and questions,” says Murugan.

The room funds are also used to help ailing students visit the doctor or support students struggling to pay their fees.

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