Primary Education

The Indian government is committed to ensuring universal elementary education (primary and upper primary) for all children aged 6-14 years of age. In 1982 the late chief minister, M. G. Ramachandran (who used to be a famous actor) fully implemented the Nutritious Meals programme for schools, which is usually referred to as the Midday Meal Scheme. This scheme has helped to raise the school attendance and thus improve literacy in the state.

Primary education in Tamil Nadu starts at Standard 1, age 6 years, and continues to Standard 5, age 11 years. A small minority of children still leave school after Standard 5 if the family cannot pay the additional expenses from Standard 6 onwards.

Government Primary Education

In K.V.Kuppam Block children are still taught using the rote method of learning. The curriculum follows the basic skills of reading and writing, maths, science, history, Physical exercise, etc. The teacher will follow a set lesson plan from Tamil state text books. The children repeat what the teacher has told them and are not usually encouraged to question or discuss the lesson content. Discipline is very strict and there are very few resources in the classroom.

English lessons

English lessons are part of the curriculum. The lessons, taken from a text book, are not always relevant to the children.

The small village elementary schools do not have tables and chairs and the children sit on the concrete floor for their lessons. Text books are provided free, though there are not always enough for one per pupil, but pupils usually need to supply writing materials and paper. Sometimes chalk and slates are still used.

Village school lessons

Sometimes two lessons are taking place at the same time, one at each end of the room, at this village school.

Class outside

Classes for the younger pupils are often run outside due to lack of space.

Queuing for lunch

Queuing for lunch. All primary school children receive a free meal at lunch time under the Midday Meals Scheme.

Boys in school uniform

Boys from the government elementary school in Veppanari show off their new school uniforms donated by the Tailoring Unit of Bishopston Trading Company.

Private Primary Education

Most villagers are unable to fund a private education for their children but if they can find the money they will go without other things to give their children what they regard as a better education.

Some parents will send children to private nursery and primary school to give them a good start. They will then attend a government secondary school which is less expensive for the family. Children in private schools are taught in English medium. If the family do not speak English in the home this makes it difficult and the children are unlikely to gain a good understanding of the English language.

A private primary school in K.V.Kuppam

A private primary school in K.V.Kuppam. The children look very smart in their uniforms.

Private Christian schools are thought by some parents to give a better standard of education. The children of parents working at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore are given the opportunity of private primary education for a reasonable fee.

This Christian primary school (for children of employees of the Christian Medical College in Vellore)

This Christian primary school (for children of employees of the Christian Medical College in Vellore) endeavours to give the children a wide range of experiences. Each year they hold a concert to celebrate the creative achievements of the children.

Playing games at break time

The children are also encouraged to enjoy games during break times.

Play equipment

Play equipment such as slides and see-saws are available.

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