Caste plays spoilsport

The primary school at Chinnavanayakkanpatti, four km from Pudur, wears a deserted look as it has 12 students as against earlier strength of 126.

For, caste equation has been playing a spoilsport and stalling appointment of a new teacher. The problem has led to simmering tension in the village. The Hindu Nadar Primary School, an aided institution, founded in 1945, has students from the community. Another MBC community, which is numerically stronger, does not send children to the school since the problem started.

On May 31, a teacher retired and the post fell vacant. “The majority community wants a teacher of its choice,” says president of the school board V. Murugesan. “The appointment can be made only on the basis of roaster system,” says Chief Educational Officer D. Manoharan. “Under the roster, this time, the post should go to an SC (Arunthathiyar) candidate.”

“The children have pulled out because of an ‘oor kattu,’ says a teacher. Only 12 SC students are attending school. There have been instances of parents of these children being asked to pull them out.

Mr. Manoharan feels that if students leave, the surplus staff would have to be transferred. But no parent has applied for a transfer certificate yet. The community’s formal demand, however, differs from the actual demand: it wants a panchayat union school, as facilities in this school are inadequate. Tahsildar K. Lenin says that performance of the school has been good. “The management is taking a lot of efforts, and the school is doing well,” he says. The school buildings were renovated a few years ago.

Earlier, the school made efforts to appease the majority community in 1993 when a teacher retired for the first time and things were smooth. But now, they are up in arms. More than three peace committee meetings were held. “Each time, the representatives said that they would talk to other people in the village and get back to us but there have been no result so far,” says Mr. Lenin. The district administration has told them that it would be a violation of the Right to Education, if they stopped children from sending to school.

Collector Sandeep Nanduri said that talks were on with the community. “We are trying to convince them. Their formal demand is to set up a new school. This cannot be easily met,” he said.

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