Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI: Revival of medical camps in government schools after a gap of 15 years is expected to be a boon to thousands of economically backward students.

There have been instances of several students with eye ailments and hearing impairments enduring their difficulties owing to lack of parental support and ignorance. For parents of children in rural schools, spending money on health is not a priority. They fail to understand that a sound physical state of their wards is the basis for intellectual growth, observe Education Department officials.

Though a nominal amount is being levied under the head of medical fee every year, it is for the first time that children will get an opportunity to avail the benefits of spot screening and explain their problems directly to medical teams visiting the schools, explain officials.

For instance, at the first camp of the academic year held at Government School, Thiruvellarai, several students were found to have eye ailments, and a couple of eye hospitals, which volunteered the medical teams, offered to render free treatment.

Though there was a provision for conducting medical check-ups, free camps could not be held in the absence of a specific direction from the government and the amount collected under the head of medical fee thus went unutilised. But now that the scheme has been made mandatory for all schools with effect from the current academic year, officials are henceforth empowered to provide aids free of cost to students with visual disability and hearing loss, as also other ailments that warrant expensive treatment.

Students who require specialised treatment could be covered under the aegis of the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, said the Chief Educational Officer, R. Baskara Setupathi.

The Education Department has prepared a schedule for conducting camps in all schools. Screening would be conducted throughout the year. Free check-ups will be done for a day in schools with moderate strength and for two days in schools with large number of students, said the CEO.