Puducherry

A standout school and teacher

Tribute to teacher:  A. Paneerselvam, founder-principal of Pudukottai Model School, celebrates his 85th birthday with his former students who organised a  guruvandanam.

Tribute to teacher: A. Paneerselvam, founder-principal of Pudukottai Model School, celebrates his 85th birthday with his former students who organised a guruvandanam.

Eighty-five former students of the Pudukottai Model School from around the world travelled to the coastal town last Saturday with one agenda: celebrate their school principal’s birthday. The alumni members organised a guruvandanam (thanksgiving to a teacher) on the 85th birthday of A. Panneerselvam, who was the founder-principal of the Pudukottai Model School.

The old students connected with each other through social media to plan the celebrations. Remembering the valuable service of the principal, they took a vow to bring back the glory of the school that gave them a bright future.

‘A rare school’

M. Valluvan, an ophthalmologist, recalled how the school honed his skills and inculcated values in students like him from a rural background.

“The toppers of Class VIII from every panchayat union took up competitive examinations to join the Pudukottai Model School. It was a Government of India project which started in 1972. The school gave national scholarship for talented rural students. I was in the first batch,” he said.

Each student was paid ₹1,000 as scholarship and teachers were drawn from colleges to teach the students of Class IX, X and XI. “We began our day at 5.30 a.m. every day with one hour of exercise, followed by classes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. where school curriculum was taught in our mother tongue. We played games for two hours. Apart from games, we were allowed to draw, paint, sing and dance. Once in a month, a VIP was invited to the school to interact with us,” Mr. Valluvan said.

“For a student from a rural area, it was inconceivable then to pursue ophthalmology. It is solely because of the education we received from this model school it became a possibility. We grew up to be confident and honest individuals. Mr. Panneerselvam took care of all the children like his own and ensured that we did not have any qualms while studying,” said Dr. Valluvan.

A. Manavalan, an alumni and one of the main organisers of the event felt sad that this model of education was diluted over the years. “We want to bring back this model in every taluk school. We will discuss and decide our future course of action to appeal to the government to revive this model,” added Valluvan.

Every student present at the programme along with their family members presented a rose and cake to their beloved teacher.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 8:35:31 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/a-standout-school-and-teacher/article23805548.ece