Children of Telugu migrants attend school, thanks to NGO initiative

REBUILDING LIVES: Children of migrant workers from Andhra Pradesh, employed for the IT corridor road work, attending the special transit school run by the Rural Development Trust at Egattur near Perungudi. Photo: A. Muralitharan  

Staff Reporter

Result of a 2005 survey on their socio-economic status

KANCHEEPURAM: Rama Rao used to sit in the gallery and watch children of his age exhibiting their abilities at athletic meets conducted by schools in Tiruporur.

This year, he was able to get into the arena and clinch the first place in the 100 metre dash at the athletic-cum-cultural meet organised by the Cluster Resource Centre of the Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan scheme at the Panchayat Union Middle School, Navalur, near Tiruporur.

Rama Rao, who belonged to a Telugu-speaking migrant worker's family at Tiruporur, took part in the competition organised for schoolchildren after he was enrolled as a student at a special transit school run by Rural Development Trust of Tiruporur, a non-governmental organisation.

A total of 186 students, admitted in various standards from I to VIII, pursue their studies in the Telugu curriculum recommended by the Andhra Pradesh State Education Board at the special transit school run by the Trust at Egattur village near Tiruporur.

Besides Rama Rao, 19 students from this school took part in the competition and won prizes, the managing trustee, T.K. Ezhumalai, said.

The idea to start a school exclusively for Telugu-speaking children in various settlements along the East Coast Road and Old Mahabalipuram Road had its origin in a survey by the Trust on the socio-economic status of the migrant families in 2005.

The survey revealed that the families who had well-established roots in their native places used to migrate to places between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradeshfor employment in construction activities or other turnkey projects.

Hence, their children were not able to attend school, Mr. Ezhumalai said.

Their financial and other social commitments prevented them from settling down in any one place.

After taking into consideration all these aspects, the Trust decided to start a transit school.

Subsequently, a portion of a building was taken for rent and classes began on June 3, 2005 with the help of teachers trained in the Telugu medium.