A new primary school coming up at Perumbakkam tenements

When children of primary classes who live at the Perumbakkam Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board tenements return to school next year, they will be entering the portals of a new building.

In 2017, Bhoomika Trust constructed an additional floor for the existing high school for the children of families relocated to the tenements from the banks of waterways in Chennai following the December 2015 floods, and is now constructing a primary school that is expected to be up and running early next year.

Aruna Subramaniam, managing trustee, Bhoomika Trust, points out the voluntary group realised that many of the high school students were being accommodated beyond their capacity.

That realisation led the NGO to draw up a plan to shore up the infrastructure of local schools, and that is how the high school at Perumbakkam came into focus. The Trust added an additional floor with six classrooms to the high school building.

Later, it took up the primary school project. The school had been accommodated in the basement of an eight-floor residential complex.

“With land in the tenement area being made available for the primary school project, we got it transferred to the Department of Public Instruction. We started the construction early this year,” says Aruna. The 16,000 sq.ft. school that is coming up will have 14 classrooms, including a library and a computer lab.

On what made the high school project different from most others, Aruna says, “It was a challenge as you had children coming from different locations and you had to integrate them.”

Besides, in the initial year, vandalisation had to be dealt with, as items at the school would go missing.

“Having a morning assembly is the first thing I am looking forward to once we move to the new building,” says the headmistress of the primary school.

Another school representative says that the Government High School had 30 students when it was established in 2014.

“In 2017, when I joined the school there were over 200 students. Now, we have a strength of 1200 students,” says the representative.

He feels children can be set on the right path if the school creates a welcome atmosphere for them.

He adds, “I am keen on promoting basketball to develop these children.”

For details, visit http://www.bhoomika

Remote learning Bhoomika Trust has started a pilot project of providing the high school children from the Perumbakkam tenements with online education, delivering it through a network of volunteers spread across the country.Due to connectivity issues in the neighbourhood, classes are held through WhatsApp videos where two students are paired with a teacher-volunteer for an hour every day.“It’s good to be invested in a particular area as we can co-opt more members and NGOs. We are trying to bring about greater collaboration and also looking at raising more funds,” says Aruna.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 9:52:33 AM |

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