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Students fly to Chennai to visit IIT Madras

Students fly to Chennai to visit IIT Madras


It was dream come true for 21 poor but academically-brilliant children of Government Higher Secondary Schools in the district as they travelled to Chennai by flight from Thoothukudi on Wednesday as part of their educational trip, thanks to District Collector V. Vishnu’s efforts.

For the first time in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Vishnu designed an intensive coaching programme for the toppers students of government higher secondary schools to train them crack Indian Institute of Technology – Joint Entrance Examination, one of the toughest exams being conducted for securing admission in the IITs and other top engineering institutions.

  As Mr. Vishnu is an alumnus of National Institute of Technology – Tiruchi, he has roped in a few faculty members of his Alma Mater to train the underprivileged higher secondary students from the government schools for cracking the IIT – JEE.

 After a screening test and personal interaction conducted for 443 students, twenty-one Class 11 students from government higher secondary schools across the district with the zeal to work hard for learning new ideas were identified for this special coaching programme, which was started in mid-January in online mode due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 When Mr. Vishnu interacted with these students from poor background on February 25, he understood their love for ‘flying high’ and arranged for their educational trip to Chennai by flight.

 “Even though the flight ticket cost was quite high and we requested the Collector to organize the trip on a later date so that the ticket cost would be much cheaper, the Collector asked us to go ahead with the plan without worrying about the ticket cost as he felt that any delay in executing his promise would dampen the children’s spirit,” said R.J. Ponniah, coordinator of this training programme and headmaster of Government Higher Secondary School, Marudhakulam situated about 20 Km from Palayamkottai.

 A visibly-thrilled bunch of 21 students including 13 girls arrived at the Thoothukudi Airport at 7 a.m. and boarded the Indigo Flight to Chennai. “We’ve not even dreamt of taking a look at a passenger aircraft in such a close range… We’re going to fly now, thanks to the Collector’s efforts,” said jubilant Gunajothi of Chettiukulam, M. Ramalakshmi of Pattamadai and Mariammal Madhu of Maruthakulam, all children of manual labourers.

 The first place they visited upon landing in Chennai was the sprawling and woody IIT-Madras campus, where they were taken to the workshops and the hitech laboratories including the Robotics Research and Training Laboratory of the world-class institute. They also interacted with the faculty and the students of IIT – Madras during the first day of the 2-day educational trip.

 On the second day on Thursday, the students will visit a few more places including Birla Planetarium and Anna Centenary Library before boarding the train in the evening to Tirunelveli.

 Mr. Vishnu, who met the students on Tuesday night in the Collector’s Bungalow along with the teachers, gave a pep-talk to the children as he is a product of NIT and was a US-trained Risk Analyst before joining the Indian Administrative Service.

 “It was 11 p.m. when a visibly enthusiastic Collector stopped interacting with the students,” said Mr. Ponniaih.

 Though Mr. Ponniah has not travelled in the flight so far, he deputed his deputy coordinators to accompany the children to Chennai, as he had work in the school.

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