NAGAPATTINAM: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The headmaster of the Union Middle School of Keechankuppam here knows that well. The tragedy that hit the hamlet in December 2004 took everything away. The school was reduced to nothing and the irreparable loss was that about 80 students of the Union Middle School were washed away.
The days that followed the tsunami were that of agony. But change was inevitable. The fishermen were relocated to rehabilitation apartments. Along with it, the school was also relocated.
However, locals of Keechankuppam were not happy with the change. They wanted their school back in the hamlet. Their efforts ensured that the school was shifted back in 2008, to a new building. But things did not return to normal. People were wary of admitting their children. The scene of giant waves gobbling up the school still haunted them. Gradually, the strength of the school went down to just 92 in 2012 from 428 in 2004.
That was when headmaster R Balu thought of an action plan. He initiated to change the classrooms to smart ones and it worked wonders. The school now has wi-fi access also. The efforts helped shore up the number of students to the present-day 390.
“In a bid to increase student strength, we set up smart classrooms and included other digital facilities in 2013. The student parliament and legislative assembly are also active here,” headmaster R Balu told Express.
“We have received many awards from the State government, including the prestigious Kamarajar award. The ISO (International Organization for Standardisation) representatives approached us last November and inspected our school thrice. They suggested changes in the course of time. As envisaged by them, we installed a separate RO water plant that cost `1.5 lakh and also built a state-of-the-art toilet at `2.50 lakh,” Balu added.
“The ISO officials were satisfied with the facilities in our school. The certificate will be given at the school annual day programme to be held next week,” the headmaster said.