Kerala

For Uthara, all the hard work bore fruit

Uthara Suresh who became the first tribal student from the Agasthyavanam to get full A+ in the SSLC exams being felicitated by Shweta Nagarkoti, Assistant Collector, Thiruvananthapuram, recently.  

Days after becoming the first tribal student from the Agasthyavanam forests in Kuttichal grama panchayat to get full A+ in the SSLC examinations, Uthara Suresh is still getting visitors, the latest being Shweta Nagarkoti, Assistant Collector, Thiruvananthapuram.

Uthara, who appeared for the SSLC examinations from Sree Narayana Higher Secondary School, Uzhamalakkal, is elated that despite the challenges of online education in the Valipara settlement where she lives with parents Suresh Mithra and Bindu (a teacher) and sister Dakshina, her hard work bore fruit. She is also happy that another student from Valipara Vishnu Sunil got five A+ grades in the examinations.

Like many students in tribal settlements and remote areas of the State, the past academic year has been tough for Uthara. While the Victers classes were available on TV at the Uravu Nattarivu Padhana Kendram for her and other students in the settlement, online classes on Google Meet would require her to climb a small hillock some 500 m from her house. But connection there was not steady always. So, Uthara would trek some more to another hillock. That, she says, was possible only if the live classes were held in the afternoon or evening; at night, there was no question of venturing out in search of range.

Apprehensive

Uthara’s family has a TV now, but she is apprehensive how she would study if school-level online classes get under way. Electricity supply is a problem, she points out, as also the fact that she has to cross a small river to reach the hillock where she can be assured of Net connectivity. However, during rains when the river swells, she is not able to reach the other side.

Her father, activist Suresh Mithra, says an inspection was held to determine if a BSNL tower could be set up in the area a couple of weeks ago, but fears it would meet the same fate as earlier efforts.

Tower

With the Chief Minister having promised online education for each tribal student, he is hopeful the tower will come up soon so that other promising students in the Agasthyavanam region do not face the same hurdles as Uthara did.

He fears dropouts at the higher secondary level may increase in the face such odds, especially as schools are closed.

Mr. Suresh hopes a request for a laptop for Uthara to the Integrated Tribal Development Programme district officer will materialise.

He credits Uthara’s class teacher Lini for paying special attention to his daughter and her sports teacher Sanjay Kumar (Uthara has represented the State twice at the national level in kho-kho) for keeping her motivated.

Uthara who hopes to become a doctor is keen on getting admission to Plus One Science at the Uzhamalakkal school itself. For the moment though, she is enjoying every moment of her success.


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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 7:30:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/for-uthara-all-the-hard-work-bore-fruit/article35530144.ece

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