Former worker wants to be a teacher

10th May 2015

- The Hindu

Former worker wants to be a teacher

Having lost her mother at the age of three, C. Muthuselvi of Tiruthangal was rolling dummies for firecrackers till she was admitted to the ‘Rs. 100 school’ (a reference to the special training centre run under National Child Labour Project) across the street in 2008. On Thursday, she walked into the Standard Fireworks Rajaratnam College for Women in Sivakasi to get an application form for admission to B.A. (English Literature).

With her score of 1,135, Muthuselvi of Kalaimagal Higher Secondary School, Tiruthangal, can walk into any top-ranking college. When her peers clamour for professional courses with lesser scores, Muthuselvi says, “I want to be a teacher. This has been my childhood dream.” She is among the 73 children, including 27 Dalit students, mainstreamed by the NCLP to have passed Plus Two this year.

The NCLP in Virudhunagar district has scored a centum with all its children getting through.

K. Gowsalya of S.R.N. Higher Secondary School, Tiruthangal, a former worker in fireworks, has scored 1,103. R. Alaguraj of Thevamar Higher Secondary School, Sivakasi, who was assisting his father in hair dressing, has scored 1,051.

Muthuselvi’s father works in a printing unit for daily wages and her aged grandmother, Mariammal, takes care of her. “I assist my grandmother in her night idli shop in Muthumari Nagar from 9 p.m. to midnight. I wake up at 4 a.m. to continue my study,” says Muthuselvi. She wants to do B. Ed. to become a teacher.

Virudhunagar district has 19 special training centres of the NCLP where child workers and school dropouts are provided elementary education before being integrated in mainstream schools. “We now have 166 former child workers of Virudhunagar district pursuing higher education, of whom 14 are in engineering colleges and three are studying law,” says T. Narayanasamy, Project Director, NCLP.

Integration of child workers with mainstream education is effected with the involvement of NCLP instructors, who closely follow the children right from a young age.

The children identified by the NCLP are aged 9 to 14 years. “We strive to provide the best education for these children. We get them admitted to private schools with private sponsorship,” says M. Sivajothi, an NCLP instructor.

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