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Flood-hit slum kids get tuitions from volunteers

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CHENNAI: After relief and rehabilitation, volunteer organisations have turned their attention towards plugging the academic gap for Class 10 and Class 12 students from poorer sections of society who were affected by the floods by mobilising teachers to conduct free tuitions. Students have been the worst affected in floods that ravaged Chennai, losing textbooks, notes and record books apart from three weeks of classes. With syllabi remaining incomplete, this would adversely affect preparations of students appearing for the board exams this year.

“Students from slums will not be able to afford private tuition classes. We can’t blame the schools; hence we are reaching out to relatives and friends who can take tuitions at a convenient time and place for these children,” said Professor V Chandrasekhar, president of the Senior Citizens Group of Besant Nagar.

Chandrasekhar and his wife Vijayalakshmi, a teacher at Anna Gem School, have already begun taking classes for a dozen slum children at their residence in Besant Nagar.

Similarly , officials of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Chennai division have selected a few schools in Vyasarpadi and Perambur where their volunteers will take classes in subjects like Maths and Science for Class 10 students.

“We have been allotted one classroom by school authorities. Tuitions will be given by family members and friends of railway officials on a daily basis,” said KK Ashraf, senior divisional security commissioner, Southern Railway.

Some of these volunteer-teachers are also graduates in psychology and can counsel students traumatised by the floods so that they can conduct the classes in a relaxed manner, Ashraf said.

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Source: TOI-Che

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After shelter, schools will be the next big challenge

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CHENNAI: The state government, which plans to shift 95,000 people (23,000 households) to Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) tenements in Perumbakkam, faces a challenge in ensuring that thousands of children of these families have access to schools.

To an RTI petition by Vanessa Peter, policy researcher at the Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities, TNSCB stated that it would construct 20 Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centres, five primary schools, two high schools and two higher secondary schools in Perumbakkam.

But TNSCB is yet to complete construction of the proposed schools. All it could do is convert five of the tenements into a school that has been functioning since December, 2014. Now only three ICDS centres function in the locality.

The existing school, which has children from Class 6 to Class 10, has 39 students. There will be a huge influx -likely in the thousands -in Perumbakkam when the authorities move families from the banks of the the city’s waterways to this locality . Peter said population of children will be around 20%, which translates to 19,000 students.

“For this, at least 11 schools each of a capacity of 2,000 will be required,” she said. “However, there is provision only for nine schools in the layout and no structure is complete so far.” When TOI visited Pe rumbakkam on Thursday , it has found the `school’ functioning out of the tenements has crammed classrooms, no libraries or laboratories.There is also no playground.The building is not designed for a school, and there are safety issues involving including absence of emergency exits in the eightstorey building. There is no boundary wall either, which is a violation of Section 19 of RTI Act.

Teachers say the premises were flooded during the ises were flooded during the recent rain. “There is a shortage of space, facilities and faculty as it is a temporary arrangement. But we may have to accommodate children of the affected families when the authorities move them here,” a teacher said, adding that rainwater is yet to drain out from many parts of Perumbakkam.

A government official said students can go to three schools (primary , middle and higher secondary) in Semmencherry . “We have completed 80% of the work on a high school and it will open shortly . The temporary school will be shifted once it is opened. We also plan to open another primary school,” he said.

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Source: TOI-Che

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'India's power reflected in legal forums'

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CHENNAI: Unlike in the earlier days when judges from India were hardpressed to find an opportunity to speak at international judicial conferences, the situation has changed in the last decade, underlining the country’s economic and political might, said Chief Justice of Madras high court Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

He was speaking at an event organised by the Madras Bar Association (MBA) to felicitate Justice B Rajendran, who was recently appointed as regional vicechairman of Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges’ Association (CMJA).

India did not have representation in the forum since the year 2000. In 2009, Justice Markandey Katju was co-opted as a member, said Justice B Rajendran. Detailing his process of election, he said he was the only representative from India for the election visa-vis several other judicial members from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

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Source: TOI-Che

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