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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Teacher gifts plane tickets to students with perfect Board score

It took Selva Kumari, a social sciences teacher, months to save up the Rs 7,000 needed for Saranya and Yamuna to take a day trip to Coimbatore.

tamil-nadu Updated: Oct 28, 2017 23:01 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai
P Saranya (left) and HYamuna take a selfie inside a flight.
P Saranya (left) and HYamuna take a selfie inside a flight.

P Saranya and H Yamuna, both 16, became the first students in their class to fly last week thanks to their teacher’s new idea for motivating her students.

Selva Kumari, the social sciences teacher in Class 10 of the Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Government Girls Higher Secondary School, promised the students in her 2016-2017 class that anyone who scored 100 in the Board exams would get to fly in a plane.

“What struck me as wonderful was the neatness of it all,” said Saranya of the Chennai International Airport, where neither she nor any member of her disadvantaged family had ever been. “The colours, designs, lights and shops were extremely beautiful, but very costly. We drank only water inside the airport.” Yamuna said their trip was positively affecting other students. “My cousin sister came and took my notes in the summer holidays,” said Yamuna, “but I advise everyone to concentrate in the class, understand the subject and concepts, and work hard. Success will come.”

Kumari said this was a sign of her programme’s success. Saranya and Yamuna have become “motivational figures”.

In the past, Kumari used to give her toppers Rs 1,000. When she learned last year, during a class on transportation, that none of her students had ever been on a plane, she made taking a flight that year’s incentive.

The Board exam results were declared in May. It took Kumari months to save up the Rs 7,000 needed for her, Saranya, and Yamuna to take a day trip to Coimbatore. Still, she said, she had hoped even more students would get a perfect score, and had been ready to spend any amount necessary.

Kumari, who has taught at the Perunthalaivar Kamarajar since 2009, said most of the her students’ parents who worked as petty tradesmen, wage labourers, and shopkeepers. They make, she said, an average of between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh a year. Saranya’s father, Pon Pandian, 46, is a vegetable vendor. He said he made Rs 200 to Rs 300 a day. Though he said he didn’t know in which subject his child had scored a 100, he also said he’s been told that Saranya’s a good student.

This year, Kumari has promised her class that anyone who scores a 100 will get to go to Delhi —“to see Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Red Fort and the like, that they see only in textbooks or television”.

First Published: Oct 28, 2017 23:01 IST

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