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Updated: November 19, 2013 17:33 IST

Education and hope

Vaibhav Shastry
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Project by women at CSI Dicosese Community College. Photo: M. Periasamy
The Hindu
Project by women at CSI Dicosese Community College. Photo: M. Periasamy

A community college helps school drop-outs and prison inmates find a career

F. Mary Francis was married off soon after graduation. She wanted to work as a teacher, but she was only a graduate. Then, she took up a diploma in kindergarten education. She now runs her own pre-primary school.

A. Yasser Arafat was jailed for seven years on narcotic-related charges. He regretted his past and wanted to learn a legitimate way to earn a living. He took up a course in desk top publishing and hardware.

Both Mary and Yasser found hope in the CSI Coimbatore Diocese Community College. For the past 19 years, this college has been helping school dropouts, young mothers and prison inmates equip themselves for a career.

It’s been two months since his release, and Yasser says that he has some skills in hand to help him lead a regular life. “I plan to start a community college of my own, so that I can help others like me,” he says.

The college conducts courses in desk top publishing software, hardware and tailoring. School drop-outs are encouraged to complete their board exams and enrol themselves in college. Prison inmates are taught skills that will help them survive once they are released. People from underprivileged backgrounds have an equal right to complete their education, says D. Queenie, principal.

Queenie teaches women life skills and a diploma course in early childhood and education. An interactive play-way methodology, with games, skits and projects is thrown in. Some women have gone on to start kindergarten schools, she adds.

As for adolescents, they are made to understand the importance of education, says Sharada Jayakumar, the longest-serving teacher in the college. Candidates take their exams through the Tamil Nadu Open University stream, and many have been placed in schools or companies. The college functions from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. For details call 0422-2222045 or 99949-89065.

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