Thursday, February 26, 2009

Middle school

The Corporation of Chennai runs free schools for children from extremely poor families. Though these schools lack facilities considered rudimentary by those from the more privileged sections, that must not be held against them. Students in such schools come from a mileu where a healthy child not going to work is seen as a loss of revenue - the incentive for parents to pull children, especially boys, out of school is very high. As for the girls, education was seen as a burden: for, according to them, no man would like an educated wife.

With all those factors against them, the Corporation Schools continue to function reasonably well. They get through the basic syllabus and give their students a feel of the opportunities available. At the high school exams, students from these schools have been registering a 'pass-percentage' of over 90% consistently over the past 5 years.

This school - and others like it - together have over 142,000 students in them. When the Corporation began its schools department in 1912, there were 40 schools under their wing. Today, the Education Department oversees 360 schools, including a Urdu High School and a Telugu one!

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