Mess In Education


Topper scam: BIHAR

Fake Intermediate certificates sold for `5 lakh in Bihar.
The Bihar exam scandal blew the lid off the shameful
teacher-school-official-impostor nexus in place. Here’s how the scam played out and the men and women behind it.

A COLLEGE PRINCIPAL
Bachcha Rai | Alleged brain behind scam | Arrested

Director-cum-principal, Vaishali’s Vishun Roy College;
said to be close to Lalu Prasad, Bachcha is in 14-day judicial custody. His photos with Lalu, Nitish Kumar & Union minister Giriraj Singh led to a ‘tweet war’ between Giriraj &dy CM Tejashwi Yadav

STATE EXAM BOARD CHIEF
Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh |A main accused| On the run
The Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) chairman
quit after the scam.
Allegedly involved in tampering answersheets of ‘toppers’
CHIEF’S WIFEUsha Sinha Accused |On the run
Ex-JD(U) MLA from Hilsa (Nalanda) & BSEB chairman Singh’s wife. Officiatingprincipal of Ganga Devi Mahila College

WHAT ISTHE SCAM?
➤ Fixers, touts, impostors guarantee students high scores
➤ Either impostor appears for a test, or answer sheets are forged
➤ Colleges often bribe officials for exclusive exam centre
for students

WHY DID SCHOOLS Get INVOLVED?
Private, unaided schools/ colleges sought meritorious
students because the state govt pays 5,000 to the institution for every student getting a 1st div (60%),
7,000 for toppers,
4,000 for 2nd div &
3,000 for 3rd div. Eachstream, science & arts, has20 to 40 toppers every year

‘SENIOR IAS OFFICER’, Vaishali DM , Rachana Patil said ‘a senior
IAS officer’ and BSEB had asked her to change V R College’s exam centre

Who are the suspects?

StudentsRuby Roy | Booked | On the run
ignorance XII 2016 “topper” whose ignorance of her subject (she called political science prodigal science and said
it teaches one to cook) practically blew the whistle on the scam. After she didn’t appear in the two retests, her result was withheld. Booked, she is absconding. BSEB
has asked her to take the retest on June 25
Saurabh Shresth Booked |Absconding

The science “topper”, Ruby’s “co-star” in sting
video. Result cancelled after June 3 retest

RahulKumar
Booked |AbscondingThe third sciencetopper.Result
cancelled after retest
Shalinee Rai | Named in scam FIR | Bachcha Rai’s daughter
She topped Matriculation in 2014 with 97.2%. Student of Vishun Roy College, idea was to enable her direct admission to a prestigious tech college

What were the rates?
➤ No standard asking price
➤ 10k-15k for a ‘scholar’ (impostor): 10k for ‘scholar’, rest with school
➤ Charges higher for girl candidates 18k-20k as women exam-writers very few
➤ Outstation candidates pay more Total cost: At least
25,000
Source: TNN and Media Report

Visit to Energy Center: 17 Feb 13


Beware of Teaching Shops


English institute takes Ukrainian duo for a ride
Couple Moved District Consumer Forum Against Poor Teaching,

Awarded Rs 55,000 Compensation

Hetal Vyas TNN

     Bangalore: They came all the way from Kiev to learn English in Bangalore. But Kovalova Natalia and his wife, both Ukraine nationals, ended up getting lessons in India’s consumer protection law, thanks to a legal battle thrust upon them by an institution that promised to teach them English.

      The Ukrainians successfully fought for their right and won compensation of Rs 55,000 and refund of Rs 35,000 they paid as fees to ‘learn English’.

     The couple moved the 3rd additional district consumer disputes redressal forum in January this year against the head manager, English Center, based in RT Nagar and Kammanahalli.

     In their complaint, the Ukrainians alleged: “Classes were being conducted by incompetent and untrained teachers and there were no adequate equipments to teach.”. They alleged that when they made a complaint with the head manager, English Center, at RT Nagar they were asked to cough up Rs. 70,000 more ‘to get good-quality education’.
The duo had contacted the institute following an advertisement on a website in which it claimed to be the ‘largest training institute imparting various levels of English-learning courses’.

     “ We incurred heavy expenditure for air fare, lodging and boarding. We also paid Rs 35,000 towards the course fee for two persons,” their complaint stated.

     In its order, a bench of president T Rajashekhariah and member HM Shivalingappa noted: “Classes were being conducted by incompetent and untrained teachers. Had the opposite party not promised good-quality teaching, the complainants wouldn’t have joined the course. They faced financial loss.”

     The court on August 7 directed head manager, English Center to pay the complainants within 30 days Rs 35,000 (fee), Rs 50,000 as compensation for causing inconvenience and depriving the duo from availing quality course and Rs 5,000 as cost towards litigation.

Painting Competetion By Rotary in DELHI on 29 Jan 2012


Dear Sir / Madam,

      Children are invited for this year’s  Rotary South – West’s  On the Spot

Poster Painting Competition on Sunday, the 29th Jan 2012.
( Accompanying teachers, parents & guardians  will also enjoy the excitement at the venue)

Venue: ARSD College, Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi with entrance from Ring Road.

Please  also note the following other important information:

Participation is FREE. Registration of participants will be on the spot starting at 11-00AM.
No restriction  on any number of children from any school & any area or RWA.

Participation Certificate will be given to all children.

 Free refreshment will be given to each participating child.

Competition is in FOUR Age Groups ( See attached Poster for details).  Also please see  other details in this poster including organisers names etc to contact for any clarification.

Topics for poster painting are  as under:- 

1. PRIDE of DELHI
Metro, Flyovers, Commonwealth Games, Tourism, Republic Day, Rotary Blood Bank, Akshardam temple


2. Conservation of Resources
Water, Energy, Oil……


3. Social Crime
Crime against Women, Child abuse, Road Rage, Blue line menace, Corruption.


4. Social Responsibilities
End polio now,Pollution, Blood Donation, AIDS, Civic Sense, Care for elderly, Hunger, Disaster Management, Health & Humanity, Master Plan 2021, Solid Waste Management, Traffic Sense, Terrorism, My Family, Mobile Mania, Women Safety, Global Warming.

Regards 
S L Watwani

PS:  For those attending for the first time, attaching a few pictures also of last year to show the interest & excitement at VENUE.
Please circulate this mail to your other friends in your mailing group for their information too.


Gandhi art Contest Montreol:


Indian kids win Gandhi art contest

September 13, 2010

  • Indian kids win Gandhi art contest

    MONTREAL: The Mahatma Gandhi International Foundation, under the leadership of its Founder and President, artist Suraj Sadan, has been organizing…

Marie-Eve Gagnon, Coordinator for exhibitions with artist Suraj Sadan

MONTREAL: The Mahatma Gandhi International Foundation, under the leadership of its Founder and President, artist Suraj Sadan, has been organizing an art exhibition-contest for the youth. The purpose of this contest is to encourage young people aged 14 to 20 to creatively explore the ideals and messages of non-violence, through drawing and painting. This year, the third year of the contest, the competition went international with the aim of having a multicultural perspective of non-violence.

Entries were received from India, the USA, and Canada.

Suggested themes related to non-violence included friendship, peace, love for nature, love for animals, care for elderly, and environment protection.

Three 1st prizes of $100 were awarded to: ”Care for Elderly”, by Praveen Kushawa, 16 yrs old (India),

“Friendship”, by Furkan Pathan, 16 yrs old (India), and

”Peace” by Nakul Singal, 16 yrs old (India).

Three 2nd prizes of $50 were awarded to: ”Tête à tête avec le monde”, by Mélanie Le Berre, 19 yrs old (Canada), ”Peace” by Parth Shah, 13 yrs (USA), and ”Friendship” by Sarthak Joshi, 13 yrs old (USA).
The Foundation will showcase the winners at the Galerie d’Arts contemporains, in Montreal, on September 24 and 25.

First Prize winner Praveen Kushwaha studies in Govt. Boys Secondary School in Kavita Colony, Delhi

First Prize winner Furkan Pathan studies in Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

First Prize winner Nakul Singal studies in Delhi Police Public School, New Delhi

2nd Prize winner Sarthak Joshi studies in Delhi Police Public School, New Delhi

2nd Prize winner Melanie Le Berre is from Montreal-Canada

2nd Prize winner Parth A. Shah studies in Manorville, NY
East Port South Manor, Jr. – Sr. High School , USA

India Post News Service

RANDOM POSTS

Bangalore : Anglo-Indians get new nursing seats quota


Anglo-Indians get new nursing seats quota

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Bangalore: The number of nursing seats reserved for Anglo-Indian community has been increased. MLA Derrick M B Fullinfaw, who represents the community in the assembly, shared this information on Tuesday.

He said: “BSc-reserved nursing seats have been increased from 1 to 10 and there will be 2 more for general nursing and five more seats for MSc nursing. This will be a great boon to women of the community.”

He lauded another move by primary and secondary education department, which increased annual fee concession for Anglo-Indian children studying in English-medium schools to Rs 5,000 from Rs 3,000 per student. “I’d requested the minister in 2008 and it has been implemented. But several Anglo-Indian students studying in SSLC board schools need this concession as it’s currently only for ICSE syllabus students,’’ he said.
He mentioned several problems the community faces and urged the government to look into them. “Housing is a major problem.

We request the CM to help them by providing BDA sites. Hardly has any Anglo-Indian obtained an Ashraya site or house pro vided by the government since 1993,’’ he said. An other issue was communi ty halls: “We don’t have community hall and we re quest the government to provide at least one com munity hall out of several unused ones and I’ll get the renovation done from my MLA fund.’’

He urged the central government to restore the reservation which was in place till 1960 in organi zations such as the rail ways. He pointed out that there are about 5,000 An glo-Indians living in Ban galore and about 12,000 people in the state. Sev eral families live in Mysore, Kolar, Bellary and Hubli, he said.

Andhra: Telugu professors do homeland proud


Telugu professors do homeland proud

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Hyderabad: It is said that if there’s one thing Telugus value more than gold, it’s education. What’s well known is that in the best of universities across the world, Telugus are among the creme de la creme of the student pool. But not content with just learning, Telugus are also making a mark for themselves as teachers.

Donning a teacher’s robe is not a novel career choice, just one that has been largely overshadowed by the more visible options of engineering and medicine for Telugus. But these intellectually inclined folk can no longer be ignored.

Analysts estimate that there are easily more than 300-400 academicians of Telugu origin in universities across the US alone, including the Ivy League. They are not just fixtures in the Foreign Language or the South-Asian Studies departments but are distinguished research scholars, professors, heads of departments, deans, vice presidents, among others.

Some very distinguished academicians are people of Telugu origin. Consider Mysore-born Telugu man Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao (popularly known as CR Rao).

Currently a Professor Emeritus at Penn State Unisity, 89-year old Rao is a living legend and among the best known statisticians in the world. He has won innumerable awards, has 28 honorary degrees from u n ive r s i t i e s over 17 countries and has his name etched in history for giving ‘Cramer-Rao bound’ and ‘Rao-Blackwell theorem’ to the world.

Contemporary IT students will certainly have heard of Raj Reddy, the man behind the establishment of the IIIT at Hyderabad. A native of Katur in Chittoor district, this former professor at Stanford University is a pioneer, having founded the first-of-its-kind Robotics Institute in Carnegie Mellon University, way back in 1979.

CR Rao and Raj Reddy might be most prominent, but many other Telugus are shining on the American academic scene. Dr Balamurali Ambati, India’s own ‘Doogie Howser’ became the world’s youngest doctor when graduated at 17.

So what drives these academicians to become the achievers that they are?”Telugus do not care for name, fame or designation but teach because of their love for teaching,” explains Pudur Jagdeeswaran, a professor at the University of North Texas. He believes that Telugus, like most Indian professors, are able to bring more to their classroom because of their global outlook. Besides that, their excellent academic records, commitment to hard work and training skills nurtured in India help, he adds.

Which probably explains why several of these academicians are occupying responsible positions in their universities as well. For instance Krishna Palepu, the Senior Associate Dean for International Development at Harvard Business School and also Ross Walker professor of Business Administration. Michael Rao is the President of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Breaking stereotypes, more and more Telugu teachers are reaching beyond subjects of engineering and medicine to social sciences, media and cultural studies, journalism etc. Speaking for Indian academicians (particularly Telugus) former professor of journalism, Ananth Babbilli also Dean, Provost and Vice President Academic Affairs at Texas A&M says, “Our intellectual depth nurtured by a multicultural and diverse cultural milieu in which we grew up, coupled with a confident global intuition are the secrets of our success”. He received the Texas Professor of the Year award by the Carnegie Foundation.

Vamsee Juluri, professor of Media Studies at University of San Fransico says that its natural for Telugus to be excellent professors, no matter what their subject, because they come from a culture of learning and a mindset that requires respect for education. On his part he always trying to break stereotypes and represent the Telugu voice of India in his class. He routinely screens Tollywood movies to hisDo students to give them a better insight into Telugu culture.

While spreading gyan among global students, mana gurus seem to be doing their homeland proud.

Top Dons
CR Rao Raj Reddy Dr Balamurali Ambati Pudur Jagdeeswaran Krishna Palepu Michael Rao Ananth Babbilli Vamsee Juluri

From rags to role model

TIMES NEWS NETWORK  

Hyderabad: In 1986, a young couple from a middle-class family from Gannavaram, a small town in Andhra Pradesh, left behind their children to go to USA, seeking a job and an opportunity for a better life. Today, they are a role model in the society they live in.

Prasad Thotakura, who started off his career as a teacher, was a marketing manager in Mobil Oil Corporation, Texas, for 10 years before assuming the post of President Elect of Telugu Association of North America (TANA), General Secretary of Indian American Friendship Council (IAFC) and the COO of Eknazar.com – a webportal that helps connect more than a million South-Asians.

Prasad has been a member of the IAFC for eight years, an organisation cited by the Congress for its work in strengthening Indo-American relations. Prasad says he works with the IAFC because “it aims to bring minorities closer to the mainstream and endeavours to educate US policy makers to needs of Indians.”

Towards this end, it actively supports Indian Americans running for office on bi-partisan levels and aims to encourage youth to take part in active politics. Prasad Thotakura is known for his fund-raising efforts, notably for raising more than half a million dollars for victims of Orissa cyclone, Gujarat quake and the Kargil war.

In 1996, he also led a team of volunteers to coordinate a fund-raising effort for relief during the Andhra Pradesh cyclone. Prasad is on the Board of Directors of Dallas Fort Worth’s World Affairs Council; on the Asian Advisory Committees of American Cancer Society, Texas; International Theatrical Art Society and several other prestigious councils involved in social service and community welfare.

All this seems a far cry from his humble beginnings when he and his wife had to resort to a number of odd jobs to put themselves through college in the US. Then, their zeal for a stable sustenance was fuelled by an all-consuming desire to bring their children, who they had left in India.

They succeeded in doing so in 1990, four years after they had entered US. The hard work he and his wife put in during the time was the stepping stone to their success, says Prasad.

He claims while he strives to contribute to the country he lives in, his mind and heart, is and will always be, in India.

With a firm belief that education is the key to India’s future, Prasad set up a Krishna Education Development Fund in the Krishna District in the State, which has helped over 900 meritorious students go to college. But that’s just the beginning of his plans for a shining India, he promises.

UP- Malihabad:Small eyes dream big


Small eyes dream big

Over 600 children in 34 upper-primary schools of Mall block want

a High School and other amenities.

Shailvee Sharda

Mall (Malihabad): Humbly dressed in red and white uniform, teenager Sania Raees represents change in several ways. Breaking indigenous barriers that confine rural girls to the four walls of their house, Sania will pass grade eight this year. Empowered with education, her mind is full of ideas to transform her village. She envisions pucca roads and sewerage system, clean public toilets in every locality, access to drinking water and round-the-clock health facilities.

Equally enthusiastic is Raushni Devi who wants the school in her village to be raised to the level of a high school if not an inter-college. What makes good educational facilities essential for her, is a desire to see her village free from social malpractices like early marriage and undue preference for male child. “A high school in the village will give us an opportunity to study beyond class eight… It will also save many girls from early marriages,” says the girl.

Abhay Shankar wants more banks to come to his village so that farmers can have easier access to loans. “Banks do not work like moneylenders who give loan to one generation and indebt the successors,” reasoned the enterprising teenager. Bhanu Pratap wants more hand pumps in his village to save people from annual cases of seasonal diarrhoea and infections while Malti Gautam wants to put an end to open defecation.

These are some examples of facilities which the children of Mall block of Malihabad tehsil in Lucknow want for their villages. The feelings came to fore through an inter-school essay competition organised by local MLA Siddhart Shankar under the flagship of an NGO. Interestingly, these children echo former president APJ Kalam’s mantra of PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas).

The aim, claims a press-release issued by him, is to understand the needs of one’s area and plan developmental work accordingly. More than 600 children across 34 upper-primary school participated in the competition. The entries were judged by education expert Vinoba Gautam; Prof Rakesh Chandra of Lucknow University and women’s rights activist Shalini Mathur. The best ‘vision’ was awarded at a public function in the block on Saturday.

What stirs the mind of Vinoba was hope that each copy contains. “Every child’s mind is impregnated with dreams and this reflected in their writings. Many of them want to be torchbearers too,” said Vinoba who is excited to get a feel that he stands at the cusp of an undercurrent social change.

Citing an example, he said, many girls underlined the need of a high school or an inter-college in their village to escape early marriage. Social audits and grassroot surveys have shown that parents marry off their daughters the moment they are out of school because of security concerns. They admitted that they would allow the girls to study up to any grade if the school was in the same village or same panchayat. “If this little dream turns true, marriages will be delayed and a number of infant and maternal health challenges will be addressed automatically,” he explained.

When asked to comment, Prof Rakesh Chandra said he was impressed with uncorrupted imagination and simplicity of thoughts. “Children don’t seek cinema halls or malls…. all they want is capacity building… This to me, is a strong indicator, ascertaining that they have the will to lead a quality life but with individual efforts and not as alms. In short, all they need is an opportunity,” he said.

The only negative to this story of change is that a flip through the essays exposed an urgent need to elevate the standards of education. Certain grammatical errors and incorrect expressions played a spoilsport. Let’s hope the dreams come true within the term of the present MLA.

Silent Angels:Chennai : NGOs activity centres for child domestic workers


NGOs start activity centres for child domestic workers

M Ramya | TNN

Chennai: After the case of 10-year-old Rameshwari Jadhav being beaten and scalded by her employer — a small-time TV actor in Mumbai — came to light, the labour ministry is trying to curb the practice of employing children as domestic workers. But not many people are interested in children like 15-year-old R Ragini, an orphan living with her brother and sister, who has been working as a maid in a house in Rajapillai Thottam in T Nagar for 12 years.

Ragini dropped out of school when she was in Class III, and can’t even write her own name. If she had been discovered a year ago, legal action could have been taken against her employer for hiring a child in hazardous labour, but now the Child Labour Prevention and Regulation Act (CLPRA) cannot help her since she is over 14 years.

An ongoing survey of child domestic workers in the city by two NGOs, Save The Children and Arunodaya Centre for Street and Working Children, shows that there are 35 children being employed in households in Kodambakkam, T Nagar and Choolaimedu, and 22 children in T P Chattram, Anna Nagar and Aminjikarai, many of them between 14 and 18 years.

Programme manager of Save The Children in the state Sandhya Krishnan says, “Though child labour has been included as a hazardous form of labour under the CLPRA, it states that only children under 14 cannot be employed in hazardous forms of labour, leaving those aged between 14 and 18 years (who are also children under Article 32 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children) without legal protection.”

Many of the children in this age group grow up to become poorly paid unskilled domestic workers. Extra-curricular or recreational activities or learning vocational skills is out of the question. To change this, the NGOs are setting up six contact and activity centres across the city. There are three centres in the city — two in Kodambakkam and one in T P Chattram.

It gives children the opportunity to play games and learn vocational skills such as tailoring and beauty techniques. Where such centres are not possible, the organisations are talking to resident welfare associations in apartments to allow them to use parking areas to give the children vocational training.

E Mala, who handles the centre in Rangarajapuram in Kodambakkam which caters to 23 children between 15 and 17 years, says, “Children can express themselves, increase their self-esteem and have fun. These are things that they never seem to have time for.”

Mala, who started working as a domestic help when she was 10, is now studying second year BA History in Quaid-E-Millet College for Women and wants to become a social worker.

Through these centres the NGOs hope to have many success stories like that of Firoza in Kolkata, who successfully completed a six-month beautician course. She has since left her employer and returned to her family in Joynagar, from where she commutes five days a week to Kolkata where she is a practising beautician and to continue her training.

Firoza is Ragini’s idol. “I just learnt how to apply mascara. Next week I’m going to learn how to shape eyebrows. Soon I’ll be working just like Firoza akka,” she says.

Unsung Heroines and Heroes


New Picture (46)Not Without My Daughters

VIMALA SESHADRI, WHO MOVED FROM THE US IN 2000, LOOKS AFTER 10 UNDERPRIVILEGED GIRLS

Shalini Umachandran | TNN

The only male in this family of 13 is a gorgeous brown German Shepherd named Lupin. Pharmacologist and medical researcher Vimala Seshadri lives with 10 girls between the ages of four and 20, who come from underprivileged backgrounds, and two dogs.

“We’re an all-women household,” says Vimala, who has been bringing up the girls as her own daughters in a small home in Injambakkam for the past nine years. While the younger girls study at a nearby CBSE school, the older ones have just started working.

Twenty-two year old Sashi, who came to Vimala when she was 14, is doing her BCom through correspondence and works as an au pair for an expat couple. “The older girls also babysit for expat couples on weekends. The money they make is put aside for them,” says Vimala.
In Vimala’s home, the focus is on education and being independent. The girls live with her through the year and go back to their parents during the holidays.

“We go back for a while, but this is home too,” says Divya (18), who’s paraplegic and has just finished class 12 at a special school. She’s planning to start her own baking business.

Born to Indian parents in the US, Vimala had never really visited India, though her family was originally from Chennai. “I could just as easily have gone to Cambodia or Vietnam, I had no particular affinity for India despite being of Indian origin,” she says.

She decided to work with children while she was living in Michigan in 1993. “Soon after I had made that promise to myself, I got a call from the local hospital asking I could help out with a little Indian girl who had come in and couldn’t speak English. That’s what made me think of coming to India.”

She came to India in 1994 and until 1997, worked in an orphanage in Tirukundram. “It made me realise that though the children were well looked after, they needed one-onone attention.”

So in 1998, she set up the Nivedita Centre for Learning in the US as an organisation that not only focussed on education but on making girls financially independent. She and trustee R N Prasad started an India branch in 2000 and Vimala moved to Chennai to put her idea to practice. “We found this property and moved here in 2000.

The lease runs out in 2010 and we’re still looking for a place. It’s hard to find a place that is willing to take in a family as diverse as ours,” she says. Vimala’s been putting her own money into the home with help from a few donors — it costs about Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh a year to keep the centre running.

She juggles work as a senior project information and feasibility associate at Icon Clinical Reasearch in Perungudi and her large family.
Vimala also conducts tuition classes for girls from the nearby fishing village. She pays for a master to tutor the older girls, while Esther teaches the girls from classes one to three. “That’s how I realised I wanted to be a teacher,” says Esther. “I want to become a Montessori teacher and also study abroad” she says.

The others have big dreams too — Maheswari wants to be an astronaut, or the President of India. Vaishali wants to be an accountant. “I wanted to be a pilot, but realised I loved numbers after I started doing Vimala Akka’s accounts,” says the class nine student. “You can be both,” interrupts Vimala. “You can get a licence after you finish your CA,” and then adds, “Vaishali’s been doing my accounts for three years. My auditors have never found a mistake.”

Vimala believes that every city should have at least one home based on her model. “With a little bit of money, you can do a lot,” she says. “You just have to be ready to give each person one-on-one attention.”

Lighting the lives of less privileged

TOI honours the city’s unsung heroes who are doing their bit away from the public glare

Kalyani Sardesai | TNN

Pune:

New Picture (47)

In his modest little ways, 39-year-old businessman Sanjay Deshmukh seeks to brighten the lives of the less privileged. Be it distributing a hundred solar lanterns for free to villagers who don’t have electricity in their homes, or sponsoring the education of needy children in his native village Kasegaon in Sangli district, Deshmukh believes that it is the small things make a big difference.

“There is so much poverty in rural areas that despite the government providing free education to children, they sit at home because their parents can’t afford to buy books or uniforms,” he says, adding, “They are usually the children of poor farmers or landless labourers, and it’s really sad when the parents decide to keep the child home just because they can’t pay for these essentials.”

But even as Deshmukh ensures such children are able to attend school, he is careful to stress that the funding is strictly performance based. “I insist on a copy of their report cards,” he says.

Apart from this, Deshmukh, the owner of a factory that manufactures solar products, distributes about a hundred solar lanterns to needy villagers or school-going children every year, free of cost. “The solar lantern is a far better option than the traditional kerosene lamp. Not only is the light from this lamp much stronger, it is cheaper and pollution-free. It helps the villagers save a lot of money and improves the quality of their life. In fact, so many of them have told me that it feels like Diwali after their days spent in darkness,” he smiles.
“To me, social work is not a solitary effort,” he says.

In order to ensure that help is extended to those who truly need it, Deshmukh sources the relevant database from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social workers. “I also have friends in Zilla Parishad schools who let me know about school-going children who don’t have electricity at home. My company gives out lanterns to them too,” he adds.

Having helped around 30 children with their educational needs over the last four years, Deshmukh is now in the process of opening a school near Kolhapur. “The trust has been registered and we are now seeking approval. Initially, it is going to be for children between standard V and VII,” he says.

56 jail inmates clear Class X examination

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Chennai:

Fifty-six of the 98 inmates of various prisons in the state who appeared in this year’s Class X examination have passed, while 16 failed and the results of 26 were withheld for various reasons. Dinakaran (29) of Nagercoil, sentenced to life imprisonment in a murder case, was the prison topper with 330 marks out of 500 while the youngest was a 19-year-old inmate of a Pudukottai juvenile home.

“At least 6,000 inmates have attained primary education after the launch of the 100 percentage literacy programme a few months ago. Udhaya Karan of Orissa, arrested and remanded by RPF personnel on theft charges, is now able to write in Tamil.

In the 2008-09 academic year, the prison department spent Rs 7 lakh for prisoners’ education. Tamil Nadu Liberation Army leader Maran alias Senguttuvan, an accused in the Rajkumar kidnap case, has completed his PhD,” director-general of police (prisons) R Nataraj said.

“We have invited many NGOs to conduct courses periodically for prisoners.

Emphasis will be on vocational and professional courses like computer applications, animation, carpentry, electrical and masonry work,” he added.