YEAR STARTED: 2005
SUPPORTED BY: United Way International, Shetland Island Council
Over 1,000 children from 10 villages in and around Tharangambadi in Nagapattinam have gone to school at the HOPE foundation Matriculation School here since 2005. We currently have over 500 children studying from Kindergarten to 10th grade.
Having quality English medium education within walking distance of their homes has made our school hugely popular. The school focuses on motivating children to go to school by making learning fun and interactive.
Students learned English, Science and Math with digital books and interactive audio-visual aids. A well-equipped computer lab with hotspots for Internet access and a library designed by Hippocampus help the children access a whole world of information. Qualified teachers from the community make the school more efficient and effective. We also have non-formal classes for about 100 children from other schools.
Initially, we provided free books, uniforms, tuition, meals and transport. Now, the students pay a nominal fee to encourage parents to value the education more. Other English-medium schools in the district have an average monthly fee of Rs 2,500 ($37), making our school more appealing to the students – our fees at Rs 1,800 ($27) to Rs 3,000 ($45) per annum is almost three times lower! We also have non-formal classes for 100 children from nearby schools.
Our first batch of 10th graders graduated in 2013 with a 100% pass rate, with all five students scoring above 80%! This success rate earned a state-level appreciation award for the school from the Department of Education, Government of Tamil Nadu.
The school has not only made quality education accessible to the fishing communities in the area, but they are also helping change the common belief that children are better off helping with work than studying – boys assisting with the fishing and girls managing homes. The school attracts increasing number of students each year.