Alumni return to Bhagavathapuram’s ‘primary’ attraction, kids in tow

It’s been a long time since S. Rani, a staffer at the Madras High Court, completed her primary schooling in the faraway village of Bhagavathapuram near Tiruttani. But time has not dimmed her love for her alma mater.

So much so that Ms. Rani, despite having settled in Chennai, has now enrolled her daughter Oviya in the very same Panchayat Union Primary School.

Ms. Rani is not alone. In a fitting tribute to the school, many former students, despite having moved away from the village, have enrolled their children in the school, which turned 60 this year. “The quality of education imparted is better than private schools,” insists Ms. Rani, whose parents continue to live in the village.

Nestled among verdant fields, Bhagavathapuram in Sirugumi Panchayat is home to 478 families. The Panchayat Union Primary School now has 46 students on its rolls, 10 of them children of former students.

C. S. Rajeshwari, a member of the school management committee, said: “The teachers here treat the students like their own children. Every year at least three alumni enrol their children here.”

Credit for the school’s continued popularity goes to the efforts of its deidcated Assistant Headmaster K. Ezhumalai. “I believe that primary education is very important in the life of a student. Only if a strong foundation is created can the students excel in future,” he said.

“He used to personally transport the children from their homes to the school as the bus service is poor. He stays after school hours to teach the children English and other soft skills. He has created a library with over 1,500 books for the benefit of children,” says Headmaster S. Balasundaram.

Mr. Ezhumalai wants to do more for his students and points to the lack of a proper playground at the school.

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