SALEM: Residents of Yeripudur near Vazhapadi urged the district administration to establish a college in their village in order to reduce the number of school dropouts.
Yeripudur is a small village in panchayat AN Mangalam which falls under the panchayat Ayothiyapattinam union in Salem. With more than 500 inhabitants, in the last 25 years only one primary school of the government panchayat union has functioned.
No less than 1,500 students from the village and neighboring villages studied in this school. At present, 67 students – 35 boys and 32 girls – study at this school.
For more than a decade now, the villagers have been asking the administration and the education department to create a college in the village for the students as most of them have to travel 10 km to reach the government high school in Ayothiyapattinam. But no action has been taken, sources said.
The parents formed an association – Makkal Sangam (popular association) to advance the demand. Speaking to TNIE, Makkal Sangam organizer A Kalaimani said that after class V children have to walk one kilometer to the bus stop and from there they have to travel 10 km to reach Ayothiyapattinam government upper secondary school.
“A government-subsidized school operates less than a mile away. They require money for admission and in the past they have failed Class IX students aiming for 100% pass percentage on SSLC exams. According to the Right to Education Act 2009, a primary school must be present within a radius of one kilometer and a middle school within a radius of three kilometers, ”Kalaimani said.
She added that they have passed many resolutions and petitions, but to no avail. Kalaimani said revenue officials claimed there was no land to build schools, but noted that they had identified a two-and-a-half-acre piece of land, which was refused by officials allegedly because ‘it was uneven.
“The students who have joined the government subsidized schools and some in the private schools have interrupted their studies in our village and we only have one graduate who has completed engineering. Most of the girls in our village interrupt their studies because they have to travel long distances ”, worries Kalaimani.
She added that this could pave the way for child marriages and child laborers. When contacted, Education Director Murugan ensured to investigate the issue.