Despite constructing a building as per government norms to establish an elementary school, the villagers of Murugankollai waited nine long years for their dream of having a school in their village to come true. However, the plight of students forced to travel for basic education continues.
Murungakollai, a village under Theethanipatti panchyat, located near Karambakudi in the district, has about 900 residents of poor economical background. There are more than 150 students under the age of 10 who are eligible for elementary school. To cater to the education needs of these children, the villagers have been submitting petitions seeking the establishment of an elementary school in their village for the last nine years. They submitted petitions to various authorities several times but in vain.
Since officials did not pay heed, the villagers announced road block agitations thrice in 2005, 2008 and 2012 but these were withdrawn at the last minute after assurances given by the Education Department authorities, which have not materialised so far.
On October 8, 2009 the joint director of education, Chennai and district education department authorities held an inspection in the village and asked the villagers to construct a school building. They did so, but the school was not established.
Vimala, a villager and member of the school committee, told Express that the State government had announced that a village would get an elementary school if it had a population of 300 and there was no school within a one kilometre radius. “We are more than 900 residents in the village and there is no school within a three-kilometre radius. More than 100 village students are being forced to travel up to Vazhaikollai, Mettupatti and Mazhaiyur for their primary education,” she said.
Commenting on this, the district primary education authorities on condition of anonymity said that the proposal had been sent to school Education department in Chennai. While the district education office only has the power to make recommendations, the final decision needs to be taken by the education department directors.