With Plus Two examinations fast approaching, the Education Department has earnestly begun a comprehensive exercise to train teachers handling different subjects through a five-day refresher programme aimed at achieving higher pass percentage in the district.

Inaugurating the programme for teachers from government and government aided schools, Collector U. Sagayam appealed to the participants to submit a score card on the performance of their students in the public examination. Every school should bring in laurels not in a few numbers, but in a mass scale, which alone would reflect the teachers' role. One or two students scoring centum could not be claimed as efforts of teachers, he said.

Chief Educational Officer S. Nagaraja Murugan and his team had prepared a detailed time-table for the teachers who would undergo training in all subjects and languages in as many as 11 centres across the district till January 13. Experts and senior teachers would address the participants in different sessions.

In his 45-minute talk with the teachers, Mr. Sagayam said, “I wish you take Madurai district to the top in Tamil Nadu. Let Madurai be a model for others in the State. From this year onwards, Madurai should set new standards. Be it English or Tamil or any other subject, teach it simple and straight,” he said.

The poorest of the poor in the society relied on government schools as a last resort to educate their wards. Hence, it was the duty of the teachers to uplift them. He pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of government schools and held the teachers accountable for the good and bad performance.

Amid applause, in a move to keep up the morale high, Mr. Sagayam announced cash prizes of Rs. one lakh to the State topper (if he or she is from Madurai), Rs. 50,000 for the teachers concerned and the school administration.

A total of 32,893 students, including 15,604 boys and 17,289 girls, would be taking Plus Two examinations in the district.

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