The school entered into an agreement with an NGO to provide free education to rescued child labourers

For more than four decades now, Sri Dhandapani Oriental Higher Secondary School in Kancheepuram has been offering free education to students.

Established in 1966-67, it functioned out of a small home on West Rajaveedhi, and moved to its present premises on Lingappan Street in 2004.

Instituted as a government-aided school with special focus on Sanskrit language, it did not attract many students in its initial years despite its offer of free education.

Not many were forthcoming to learn Sanskrit and there were some social challenges too, as some communities were not keen on their wards taking up Sanskrit in school.

But the change in premises in 2004 and a re-organisation of the management committee did wonders as the new committee decided to open Sanskrit-language learning to all.

They entered into an agreement with an NGO to provide free education, including Sanskrit language training, for rescued child labourers seeking rehabilitation.

“Initially we found it difficult to convince parents to admit their wards in our school. But things changed after we entered into a tie-up with Hand-in-Hand, an NGO working towards elimination of child and bonded labour system. Children who have undergone a one-year residential course at the special homes run by the NGO were admitted to classes appropriate to their age group, along with other students,” said the school management in-charge, R. Venkatasubramanian.

Good pass pencentage

The school has consistently recorded pass percentage of more than 90 per cent in the SSLC examinations, over the past few years, and has set a similar record in the plus-2 examinations too, said Mr. Venkatasubramanian.

J. Syed Ali Fathima, a student of the school, secured 1,037 marks out of 1,200, in the 2014 class XII examinations.

Encouraged by the vigour to learn by tapping the opportunity extended to them free of cost, Mr.Venkatasubramanian said,

The management added a higher secondary section, also offered free of cost, in the year 2010-11, though the permission for it was obtained under the self-financing scheme.

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