It is mathematics which proves to be a weak link for many but crucial for securing better cut-off marks for professional courses

It is just a square inch of ivory, nothing ambitious or extraordinary. But what distinguishes the 20-odd students from Srirangam, led by K.R. Dinesh, a third year IT student of JJ Engineering College, is their passion for contributing to society. More importantly, the earnest attention accorded to this endeavour by their parents speaks volumes of their initiative. It is an eloquent testimony for how the energy of youngsters could be properly channelled.

“In 2010, some of us — mostly alumni of Ranga Matriculation School, Srirangam, wanted to help fellow students who find it difficult to do well in General Mathematics and Business Mathematics in public examinations. It is mathematics which proves to be a weak link for many but crucial for securing better cut-off marks for professional courses. Thus TKR Academy of Mathematics was born which is supported by parents and some charitable institutions,” narrates Mr. Dinesh.

“All we do is conduct examinations in these two subjects, especially during December-January, on the pattern of public examinations. We even have a fly-leaf attached. We provide them question papers set by well-qualified teachers. We give them answer sheets as well, and this helps them rid their fear. It is a three-hour examination for which we collect only Rs.20 per head,” says S. Vinu, a third year English Literature student.

R. Venkatesh, one of the organisers, said even this amount is spent on paying tuition fees of poor students and “we have already paid for about half a dozen such students, and we plan to do so every year.”

The exercise started with just 150 students.

The following year it grew to 200, last year to 250 and this year it was more than 300.

“The invigilators are all our friends and the correction is done by qualified teachers. Srirangam Boys and Girls Higher Secondary Schools have been so good to us that we do not spend a penny on getting classrooms for the examinations.”

S.K. Prasanna, another organiser, says that December-January is the ideal time for the organisers and candidates.

“For the organisers, it is the semester holidays. For Plus Two students, most of the lessons would have been covered by now. In order to encourage the toppers, we have planned a shield, apart from prizes. We are so wedded to our initiative that some of our friends, who are studying in Chennai, turned up for the conduct of the examinations on Sunday,” he adds.

S.R. Krishnan, a parent, said he had proposed to foot the bill for the shield to be named after mathematics wizard Srinivsa Ramanujam.

Mr. Dinesh says the entire team is enthused by the response not only from students but even from schools like Ranga Matriculation Higher Secondary School, and AKKV Matriculation Higher Secondary School. Charitable institutions like Shrinithi Yetharajar Charitable Trust help us, and we get candidates not only from Srirangam but also from various institutions in Tiruchi.

He is confident that this initiative will not be given up midway through. “We are confident of doing it year after year,” he asserts.