Upgrade of R.C. Middle School at Ariyamangalam by the State government will make a big difference in the lives of several hundreds of children, particularly girls, from the low-income group, say parents.

The school was recognised by the Department of School Education in 1939, four years after it was established by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tiruchi, and caters to the educational requirement of 300 children. But most parents are either unable to educate their children beyond upper primary level as they consider that the city high schools are distantly located or are unwilling due to economic constraints.

Upgrade of the institution into a high school will not only benefit children coming from Nehruji Nagar, Vukkadai, Amalorpava Nagar, and Ganapathi Nagar, where people working in small-scale industries lived, but also those belonging to a cluster of surrounding villages including Kuvalakkudi, Mullaikudi, Sircarpalayam, Ottakudi, Gandhipuram, Kallangothu, and Athupalam.

About 80 per cent of the children hail from poor agricultural families and the rest are from families of industrial workers. A few children drop out of the school because of poverty and take to petty crime, according to Rev. Fr. K. Arockiam, Parish Priest and School Correspondent. The school, he said, symbolised hope for the Dalit families and other economically backward communities irrespective of caste, creed, and religion.

Managed by Jesuit Fathers since 1986, the school was upgraded with upper primary sections in 1991 by the State government in consideration of the plight of the rural and urban poor.

Thanks to the quality education, the school has all along been patronised well by the local community. The existing infrastructure augurs well for the upgrade, says Fr. Arockiam about the adequacy of buildings on the two-acre campus to accommodate more students.

The infrastructure inclusive of playground and learning environment came in for praise from senior officials of the Department of Primary Education during the school’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations recently. Both the Assistant Elementary Education Officer Shanmugam and the Additional Assistant Elementary Education Officer R. David Premkumar rated the school as one of the best to impart Tamil-medium education in Tiruverumbur region.

Rev. Fr. John Britto, Rector of St. Joseph’s College, presided over the celebrations. Rev. Fr. Thomas Paul Samy, Vicar General of Tiruchi Diocese were present.