VELLORE: A school teacher in Ambur has been helping students, especially those from weaker sections, with free coaching materials to sail through the National Merit-cum-Means Scholarship, instituted by the Union Human Resources Development Ministry. Aided by Saravanan, an English teacher with Municipal Middle School in Ambur, 551 students in the district have burned the midnight oil to bag the scholarship.
According to Saravanan, the aim is to curb school dropout by economically weaker students at class 8 and to encourage them to continue with the studies till the secondary stage.
The scholarship with Rs 6,000 per annum (Rs.500 per month) is awarded to selected students from Class IX to Class XII in State government, government-aided and schools run by local bodies. The money is distributed on quarterly basis. The parental income from all sources should not exceed more than Rs. 1,50,000 to avail the scholarship. The selection process includes an examination by the State government.
Saravanan said that the NMMS was held in the state in last December and 551 students, including his own students K Sandhya and M Monika, were selected from the district, when the results were published a few weeks back.
It took two and a half months preparation for the NMMS and the manual and the mock tests conducted by Saravanan helped a lot, said K Sandhya, who is aspiring for a career in nursing.
The free coaching manual, which was prepared by him by spending Rs 40,000 from his pocket, motivated students to appear for the NMMS. It took two months to collect model question papers, short cut methods which are included in the the manual, he added.
"As the examination includes questions to test mental ability and scholastic aptitude in the form of OMR sheet, preparing for NMMS will help students gain confidence to appear for the well-known eligibility tests like NEET and tests such as Talent Search Scheme Exam (TRUST) for Class IX students and National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) for Class X students.
'Initially, I wanted to distribute to students within our block (Madanur)' he recalled adding, ' but a Facebook posting by me had evoked more response from students from other parts of the district and state' which made him print more number of copies.
"I am happy that my efforts are yielding good results. Passing the test is easy but securing ranks is difficult and this is where the manual plays its role," he said, and recalled how a social media post by him evinced interest in students from other parts of the district.