With just one primary school at walkable distance, higher education is still a distant reality for many of the students of the villages of Arasaradi and Solayur of Theni district in Tamil nadu.
S. Thiruselvi, mother of two, points out that students are forced to travel a long distance if they need further education. Though hostel facilities are available at the schools in Theni and Andipatti, not everyone can afford it.
Many a times, they quit schooling only to support their families. Depending merely on income from silk cotton trees and vegetables, most of the families survive on a meagre income.
When getting education is the top priority, the facilities provided by the schools is also a matter of concern.
Though there are separate toilets for boys and girls in the Panchayat Union Primary School at Arasaradi, students use open space since there is no water. Severe water scarcity has drained up the lives of children too.
As they didn’t get the promised free uniforms and bags from government, students are forced to buy uniforms. Holding a big shopper bag, in which one usually carry grocery items, K. Anushiya happily posed for a photograph along with her friends.
With no electricity except the solar panels, Rose Pandian could not continue his studies when it got dark. Nurturing the dreams to become a doctor, he worries about the darkness that still looms with the damaged solar lights.
But the students at Solayur have a different tale to tell!
When the students at Arasaradi, do not have the necessary provisions, ignorance darkens the life at this village.
According to Bala Murugan, the sole teacher at the primary school here, people haven’t realized the necessity of education. Pointing to Karuppuswamy, a third standard student who just came from a three month hiatus, BalaMurugan explained the difficulty in bringing the children to school.
Like him, there are couple of others who are not regular to school. Bala Murugan who reaches the school by 9, goes from house to house to persuade them to come to school.
The crucial issue lies in the ignorance of parents. As the parents are not educated they don’t understand the importance of education.
With just 18 students in the school, however, the teacher manages to instil hope and aspirations in them.