CHENNAI:Let us take bath every day and be healthy, let us wear clean clothes…. Let us brush our teeth twice a day, let us wash hands when we come back from toilets. Let us eat green vegetables to stay healthy.
These are the lyrics of a song sung by young children at assembly in a Chennai Primary School at Kuppum, Thiruvanmiyur, as they start a new academic year.
These children, mostly from the fishing hamlets nearby, didn’t falter either in the tune or in the lyrics. S Mary Stella, Headmistress, said with a proud smile, “Our school is a model for activity-based learning (ABL). Our children are from the fishing hamlets, but they are smart, alert and informed, at par with any children of their age studying in private schools.”
A strong believer in the common school system, she said, “There is a misconception among parents that government schools are bad. I believe that teachers in government schools are more qualified and more committed to their job. The number of new admissions is a sign of the faith the community has in this school.”
Parents and children waited with filled application forms near the entrance of the Chennai Higher Secondary School, Thiruvanmiyur. Gomathi, who had come to admit her son in Class 6, said, “My sister’s children study here and say the teaching here is very good. So I am moving my son here from a private school.”
Lakshmipathy, whose daughters have been studying in this school from LKG, said, “The government has given us good schools, but people do not make use of them.” V Balaji, whose daughter is in Class 12, said, “My daughter has been studying in this school from LKG. I am very happy with the quality of education here.” K B Gomathi, Principal of Chennai Higher Secondary School, Thiruvanmiyur, said, “Slowly, the preception that government schools provide quality education is gaining ground in people’s minds. This is reflected in our admissions going up every year.”