KOCHI: The pandemic has quashed the dreams of many students belonging to the tribal community due to lack of facilities to pursue online education. But two children hailing from colonies located deep inside the Kuttampuzha forest have excelled in the SSLC exams beating the odds.
It is a glorious moment for M Anu, a student belonging to Variyam settlement colony located 19 km inside the forest and Syama Manu of Pinavoorkudi colony in Kuttampuzha panchayat who have scored full A plus in the state board exam.
Both Anu and Syama were studying at the Model Residential School in Chalakudy but had to return to their houses as schools were closed owing to pandemic spread.
In the tribal hamlets, where access to internet and TV network is minimal, the children were at the risk of trailing behind. The net coverage was poor and the families could not afford to provide them smart phones.
It was the DTH antennas and TV sets provided by the tribal welfare department through sponsorship that helped these children break the barriers. The department had set up community study centres in the colonies where educated youth helped them in their studies.
Anu lives at Variyam colony where power and mobile phone network are still a dream.
Her parents Marimani and Veeramma are agriculturists. The tribal department has provided solar lamps, DTH and a TV set at the community study centre, where a youth who has cleared Class XII exams help the students in their studies.
The teachers had sent her books through tribal promoters. The girl was completely out of sync with online classes until the school opened in January.
It was the three months of rigorous coaching that helped her excel in the exam.
Anu is also an athlete and had won the second and third positions in 200 m and 800 m race in the state sport meet two years ago. She had also won the champion's trophy at the Ernakulam district school sports meet.
"Though I attended the classes that are streamed on Kite Victers channel at the community study centre, I couldn't follow the Hindi, English and Maths lessons. The department had engaged a teacher in the colony who used to help me. My teachers gifted me a smart phone in October after which I started contacting the teachers to clear the doubts. The school opened in January after which I could concentrate on my studies," Syama told The New Indian Express.
Syama also cleared the preliminary National Talent Search Examination and is preparing for the stage two exam now.
"Tribal Welfare Officer G Anilkumar came to our colony to congratulate me and gifted books to prepare for the scholarship exam," she said. Syama's father Manu is a farm labourer and mother Gigi is a homemaker. Her three sisters are enrolled at Pinavoorkudi Government High School.