Express News Service
COIMBATORE: With online classes continuing to be the new normal for students, tribal children in Esal Thattu tribal hamlet are back to studies, thanks to two government school teachers from Udumalai taluk in Tiruppur district who trek for several hours through hilly terrain to conduct classes in the hamlet.
The teachers — headmaster M Pandi and S Ayyappan — of Government Tribal Residential Primary School in Lingamavur in Udumalai walk for up to six kilometres from the foothills near Thirumoorthy Hills to reach the tribal settlement that prominently houses Pulayar and Muthuvan tribes.
Situated on the verdant lap of Western Ghats, the travel to this settlement poses a challenge due to the rugged terrain and lack of proper road connectivity. Twice or thrice a week, Pandi and Ayyappan along with a school assistant start their journey to Esal Thattu early around 6 am to avoid the scorching sun. They reach their destination by 10 am.
It takes almost four to five hours to reach the place, said headmaster Pandi, adding that the journey through the rugged terrain poses a difficulty if there is a downpour.
Also, the route is dangerous as elephants and tigers could be on the prowl. Giving a wide berth to the challenges, these two teachers go on to perform their duties by offering door-step education to the tribal kids.Pandi added,
“Conducting classes at the students’ place is polar opposite from classroom teaching. In the former method, the students might tend to lose concentration. But, we do not want the students to feel a gap in their education.”
The school has a strength of 13 students who are scattered in various tribal settlements — six from Esal Thattu. There are plans to conduct classes in other settlements also, the headmaster informed. Ayyappan said they teach not only their school students but for the pupils of other schools who are in the settlement too.