The educationally backward Villupuram district can now boast of having eight Model Schools with English as medium of learning from Classes VI to XII.

Started under the Rashtriya Madhyamic Shiksha Abhiyan scheme these model schools can now boast of an aggregate student strength of 2,220, including 1,336 boys and 884 girls. Each section has a total of 40 students, a fairly manageable size.

Chief Educational Officer S. Mars told The Hindu that the model school concept was introduced in those blocks whose literacy rate was below the national average. Thus, eight Panchayat Unions such as Kallakurichi, Rishivandhiyam, Thirukkoilur, Thiagadurgam, Thirunavalur, Thiruvennainallur, Ulundurpet and Sankarapuram were identified as the educationally backward blocks, qualifying for getting a model school each

Initially, such schools were set up at Thirukkoilur, Rishvandhiyam and Thigadurgam in the academic year 2010-2011 with the intake of 700 students. These schools started functioning from rented buildings have now moved into their own buildings.

Mr. Mars also said that for the current academic year 2013-2014 four more Model Schools came into being at places such as Ulundurpet government boys’ higher secondary school, Kalamarudhur in Thirunavalur block, Emapur in Thiruvennainallur block and Pudupattu on the Kalvarayan Hills.

District Collector V. Sampath said, “The model schools provide an opportunity to the students in remote areas to study in English medium on par with their affluent counterparts in the urban areas. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has now sanctioned a sum of Rs. 31.91 crore for construction of own buildings for the model schools started in the second phase.”

The parents feel proud of putting their wards in the model schools.

Ganapathy Singaravel, a mason residing at Periya Siruvathur in Kallakurichi block, told this correspondent that earlier his two sons G. Soundarapandiyan and G. Raman were studying in a private matriculation school and on this account he used to incur huge expenditure.

“Now, the elder son has joined the Periya Siruvathur Model School in Class IX and younger son in Class VI. The model school is not only nearer to home but is also imparting free education, besides providing all benefits enjoyed by the students of government and aided schools such as free cycles, bus passes, textbooks, school bags and so on.”

Dream comes true

Ayyamperumal, involved in fixing tiles for buildings and father of A. Akila, a Class VIII student in the Periya Siruvathur Model School, said that it was the desire of every parent belonging to the lower economic strata of the society to provide English education to their wards.

Before the advent of the Model Schools he never imagined that such a thing would become a reality.

“But now it has really happened to the delight of the parents,” he said.

The students Akila and Soundarapandian are appreciative of the facilities in the model schools and efficient teachers.

Asked as to how the students with rural background who usually struggle to learn English language could cope with the syllabus, Mr. Mars said, “It is the lack of exposure that has kept them baffled over the English language. The rural students not only grasp the nuances of English language with alacrity but also prove their mastery over the language in a commendable manner.”