Amidst the usual din of learning at the Academic Support Centre (ASC) at TNDTA school, an animated young student is busy feverishly explaining and engaging members of her class group in a discussion on the functions of different body parts. Her bright eyes and animated gestures can be seen eliciting affirmative responses from her group members.
K. Ponkarthika is an 8th grade student, and one of the 60 girls attending Ilam Mottukal classes at the school.
“Of course!” comes an emphatic reply when asked if she likes coming to the school.
“This is the best part of the day.”
Ponkarthika has always been a very smart student and an academic high-achiever in her school. And after joining the Ilam Mottukal classes — being implemented by Humana People to People India with support from Sterlite Copper — a new avenue of a more comprehensive learning has opened for her.
“The tutors at the ASCs are very engaging. They use examples from our daily life to help us understand concepts mentioned in our books. This makes learning very easy and interesting,” she says.
For most of the school students in this part of rural Tuticorin, tuition classes are not very readily available. And when they are, the financial costs involved deter many parents from sending their children to such classes after school hours.
For such students, ASCs run under the Ilam Mottukal project provide a fresh impetus for achieving their goals.
Today, the programme is being implemented at 86 schools through 253 ASCs impacting 8,046 students.
“The best part of the classes is the spoken English classes. It has been only a few months since this classes focused on English have started, but I can already feel that my English is slowly becoming as good as some of my friends who go to private schools with much higher fees,” says an excited Ponkarthika.
And when asked about her future goals, she is equally vehement.
“I will grow up to be an IAS officer. It is important to provide poor people clean drinking water and accessibility to roads,” she says.
With lack of drinking water being one of the most pestering concerns for the citizens of this area, it is clearly evident that this socially conscious Ilam Mottukal girl is well on her way to achieve her dreams.
TNDTA Middle School, Madathur, Tuticorin