Girls’ school devises a simple monitoring mechanism

Disciplining children involves constant monitoring which becomes an arduous task when there are as many as 4,000 of them studying in a school between Standards VI and XII alone. Yet, the 59-year-old Nirmala Girls Higher Secondary School on Kamarajar Salai here has been successfully keeping a tab on its students through a very unusual tool — colourful ribbons tied to their plaits of hair.

Apart from the school uniform — churidar with a dupatta to be worn in v-shape below the neck and pinned to their dress — it is mandatory for students of this school to sport a double-plait hairstyle with ribbons of different colours: red for those in class VI, white for class VII, green for VIII, blue for IX, yellow for X and again red for class XII. These ribbons serve as an identification of the class to which a student belongs.

“Ours is a school that gives utmost importance to discipline and character building. Therefore, it is very vital to keep a check over the activities of school children both inside and outside the campus. The multi-colour ribbon system helps in inculcating self-discipline among students because they know that it is very easy to track down wrongdoers by the colour of the ribbons,” says Headmistress P. Anna Mary

The school is run by the Congregation of Servants of Mary.

It has been following the colour ribbon system for more than three decades. It had stood the test of time and helped the institution in maintaining discipline even at an era when most schools were dependant on the cane, a tool that had now been sidelined owing to increased opposition to corporal punishment at schools.

Discipline factor apart, the multi-colour ribbons also add a dash of colour to the school campus.

“It is a sight to behold when our students gather for the morning assemblies or for lunch on the play round. The gathering resembles a garden full of flowers and that cheers up not only the students but also the teachers and non-teaching staff. There is nothing like starting a day with a colourful note,” she added.

Students of the school too seem to love the ribbon system as a Class VIII student equated it to the system of colourful belts worn by karate exponents.

“Like the karatekas wanting to advance through colourful belts, I and my friends too eagerly await the chance to change the colour of our ribbons as it gives us the satisfaction of having graduated to the next class,” she says with a smile.