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Pioneering education model

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Tamil Nadu has been a pioneer in education. The mid day meals scheme introduced by Kamaraj and later extended by MGR lured thousands of children to schools. This not only drastically improved the literacy rate of the state, but also increased the nutrition level of children. Thanks to these concerted efforts, Tamil Nadu is at the top in literacy and also has abundance of skilled labour.

 

Lowest drop-out rate...

Out of the 56,828 schools in Tamil Nadu, the government runs 36,959.  In 2012-13 Tamil Nadu stood third in composite rank of educational development index at the national level. It is only next to Lakshwadeep and Puducherry, small UTs.

“The drop-out rate of the state is 0.95 against the national average of 4.67. The state takes extensive measures to track drop-out students and to enroll them back into educational courses,” said D Sabitha, Principal Secretary, Department of School Education.

The state’s model has been replicated across the country. Students are provided with several facilities that include bus passes, school bags, footwear, uniform, textbooks, note books, laptops,... for free. The budget allocation for school education in 2014-15 was Rs 17,731.71 crore.

 

Embracing technology

In trend with changing demands, the department strives to keep pace with developments in technology. Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) System of education, combined with the trimester pattern, has brought good results. Activity-based learning introduced for kindergarten students has been yielding good results. “The department will shortly set up an e-school education department with GIS mapping. This will give greater impetus to a much higher level in planning for the future,” said Sabitha.

The Educational Management Information System (EMIS), a database of all schools, students, teachers, officers working in government and government-aided schools, has been created. It enables smoother and swifter intra-departmental communication, teacher attendance monitoring and helps in tracking drop-out students. The educational content server, part of EMIS, contains several multimedia and digital lessons. Self-testing through the portal is also on plans, said the Secretary.

 

Inclusive education...

TN Vision 2023 envisages bringing about all-round and holistic development of school children by catering to their physical, social, emotional and intellectual well-being. The state has been providing inclusive education to those suffering from visual, hearing, speech impairments, learning disabilities, Down syndrome, and autism. The State Resource Centre for Inclusive Education has been set up at Chennai under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan. This offers services like physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, psychological counselling and special education free of cost.

For overall development of children the department takes steps to hone their extra curricular skills. The 27th southern India science fair held in Chennai, encouraged students and teachers to display models and exhibits. To develop critical and analytical thinking skills, chess has been introduced for children aged between 7 and 17 years. Chess clubs have been formed in schools and competitions are conducted at various levels.

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