SALEM: Residents of Yeripudur near Vazhapadi urged the district administration to establish a middle school in their village in order to reduce the number of school dropouts.
Yeripudur is a small village in AN Mangalam panchayat that comes under the Ayothiyapattinam panchayat union in Salem. With more than 500 residents, for the past 25 years, only a government panchayat union primary school has been functioning.
As many as 1,500 students from the village and nearby villages have studied in this school. At present, 67 students — 35 boys and 32 girls — are studying in this school.
For more than a decade now, the villagers have been urging the administration and the education department to create a middle school in the village for students since most of them have to travel 10 km to reach the Government higher secondary school in Ayothiyapattinam. But no action has been taken, said sources.
The parents formed an association -- Makkal Sangam (people's association) to further the demand. Speaking to TNIE, Makkal Sangam organizer A Kalaimani said, after Class V, the children have to walk one km to the bus stop and from there they have to travel 10 km to reach Ayothiyapattinam Government Higher Secondary school.
“A government-aided school is functioning within a km. They demand money for admission and in the past, they have failed Class IX students aiming to get a 100% pass percentage in the SSLC exams. As per the Right to Education Act 2009, a primary school should be present within a km, and a middle school within a three km radius,” said Kalaimani
She added they have passed numerous resolutions and petitions but in vain. Kalaimani said the revenue officials claim there is no land for constructing schools but noted they identified two-and-a-half acre land, which was turned down by officials allegedly because it was uneven.
“Students who joined government-aided schools and some in private schools have discontinued their studies in our village and we have only one graduate who completed engineering. Most of the girls in our village are discontinuing their education since they have to travel quite a distance,” worried Kalaimani.
She added that it could pave way for child marriages and child labourers. When contacted, Chief Educational Officer Murugan assured to investigate the issue.