The Regional Science Centre and Planetarium (RSC) here had a large, unusual group of visitors from the neighbouring district of Malappuram on Tuesday. All of them were students, but a bit on the grown-up side.
They were people who had to drop out of school, between 17 and 40 years of age, but nursing a deep desire to continue their education. They were part of ‘Sameeksha,’ envisaged and executed by the Nilambur muncipality to enable them to pass the Class-X equivalency examination.
Wives, husbands, mothers, and spinsters, over 1,000 of them in all, arrived in specially arranged tourist buses at the RSC as part of a study tour organised by the municipality and led by its chairman Aryadan Shoukath.
Mr. Shoukath said that around 70 per cent of them were women who had to discontinue their schooling for different reasons, including an early marriage. “Most of them are extremely talented with the potential of growing up to be highly resourceful persons,” said Mr. Shoukath.
He said Sameeksha had more than 2,500 members registered with it and only around half the number could participate in the tour. “Once they pass the exam, these people will be given training in different vocational courses as the next phase of the project,” he said.
The visitors, some of whom had arrived with their tiny-tots, were led to the science gallery at the centre before they were offered the digital planetarium show. A cultural meeting was also organised in the afternoon. ‘Gotramozhi’ folk-singer band from Nilambur performed, inspiring even a section of the audience to dance with their tunes.
Actor Mamukoya, who addressed the audience during the cultural meet, urged the students to strive to understand the real meaning of education, instead of giving “over-importance” to certificates.
He called upon them to expand their horizons by reading outside their syllabus.
“Don’t let any miss-interpreters, including politicians mislead you, for all them will have their own private motives,” the actor said.
The visit to the RSC was a memorable occasion for the Sameeksha members. “I had every chance to miss this visit, but it would have been a great loss had I missed it,” said M. Sameena, a 38-year-old student. For P.S. Saritha, like many others in her team, it was her first ever visit to the RSC. “It was a really motivating outing,” she said.