Convincing parents to send their wards to schools and ensuring regular attendance was a major challenge, teachers said

In a role reversal of sorts, teachers took to notebooks and pens at a workshop held in the city.

The focus of the ongoing reinforcement training workshop was on familiarising them with the Right to Education Act and getting more students to attend schools and providing them continuous and free education.

Teachers, headmasters and officials in charge of primary, middle and upper-primary classes said that convincing parents to send their wards to schools and ensuring the students attended classes regularly was one of the major challenges they faced.

A primary teacher from Tirupur district said they took various measures to ensure that children came to school. “We get children of persons who work as scavengers. They dress their children as early as six in the morning, and leave for work, but the children rarely come to school. I make several trips on my two-wheeler to get the children to school,” she said.

A headmaster of a Corporation-run primary school said despite door-to-door campaigns, the student strength at his institution was a mere 27 this year.

“Last year, we had 57 students, but 21 students passed out of class-V last year. We have not been able to fill that lacuna,” she said.

Though in a much better position than in previous years, issues such as migration and child marriage still plagued some areas of the city, said K. Mahalakshmi, supervisor, zone-5, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

One of the most important points they had to drive home was that even those students who could not produce documents, such as a transfer certificate, had to be admitted in age-appropriate classes, said P. Ayyannan, chief educational officer, SSA.

The two-day training programme was jointly organised by SSA and the Tamil Nadu State Council for Educational Research and Training. A. Samadhanam, assistant project officer, SSA, said, since the training workshop fell in the middle of the vacations, teachers were given the option of attending the programme at any of the centres across the state.

The training was conducted on Thursday for primary school teachers, on Friday for headmasters, and on Saturday for upper primary school teachers in the four centres in the city.

Close to 2,722 primary and 2,744 upper primary teachers working in government, government-aided and Corporation-run schools took part in the training programme, he said. Block resource training educators were engaged as resource persons to conduct the training programme.