The Adi Dravidar Welfare Department residential school which has a head mistress-cum-teacher and a cook at keel Valasai has come a cropper.
A frail HM Shanti, who is unable to climb the hills, comes to the school only occasionally in a month, while the cook supplies poorly cooked food to the children.
The villagers claimed that the children were not provided with oil, soap, shampoo and other items that were being issued in other residential schools. “The school opens very rarely and the teacher visits the school once or twice in a month. The children are not encouraged to come to school. They are even deprived of eggs,” a youth living close to the school claimed. Sources in the district administration said, `650 had been sanctioned per student for a month as fooding charges. Apart from this, the department was also providing `50 per student for soaps, shampoos, oil and haircut expenses. “As per the school register, a total of 32 students had been enrolled in the school. An amount of `22,000 per month had also been sanctioned for the school, for the ration, per month. But the school was not functioning properly. The student’s strength was in single digit,” an official in the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department said.
Collector Dr Vijay Pingale, who walked for nearly eight kilometres to reach out to the tribal villagers, walked into the residential school and enquired the HM and the cook. The Collector, after having a talk with the villagers and children in the school, nailed the HM for trying to manipulate the poor enrolment figures in the school.
The HM had also brought few students studying in class VII in Gurukilamboor village, and school dropouts to show the school strength as above 50. The Collector immediately directed the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Officer, Tiruvannamalai, Yuvaraj, to conduct a detailed enquiry into the malpractice in the school and submit a report.