July 20, 2018
Happy Schooling, a vibrant instance of public-private partnership that seeks to address emotional well-being and academic excellence of students in select Corporation schools in the city was inaugurated last week.
Happy Schooling, an initiative of MS Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation (MSCT&RF), in collaboration with Madurai Corporation and the HCL Foundation, was inaugurated on July 20, 2018, in Madurai. A memorandum of understanding was also signed in this regard. Besides the galaxy of distinguished invitees and teachers from Corporation schools in Madurai who graced the occasion, the ‘stars’ of the evening were children from selected Corporation Schools, whose energy and enthusiasm was impossible to miss.
Happy Schooling is an initiative to promote emotional well-being and academic excellence in 10(ten) Corporation schools in the city in the first phase. MSCT&RF will play the lead role in imparting life skills education to the children, counseling services for children in need and training teachers in early identification of psychological problems in children. HCL Foundation, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, is the resource partner; and NIMHANS, Bengaluru, responsible for a quarterly evaluation of the initiative.
B. Subbaraman, Associate Vice President and Centre Head, HCL, Madurai; remarked that a chance conversation with Dr. CRS a few months back sowed the seeds for the initiative. He said that Dr. CRS perceptively remarked that parents teachers and divergent aspirations for children. In addition, children too had their own aspirations that was completely different from that their parents and teachers had for them.
“This results in tremendous stress for school children that needs to be addressed at the root,” said Dr. CRS, who also added that Happy Schooling would address the emotional well being of all three groups.
Dr. Aneesh Sekhar, IAS, Commissioner, Madurai Corporation, remarked that there is an imminent need to relate to students as children—real people with their own needs, aspirations and desires and notmerely with a narrow focus on academic excellence. He reiterated that teachers are vital to the success of the initiative.
“There might be a Tendulkar, a great footballer or a Kalam amidst these children. We need to foster unique talents in children; to shift the focus from academic performance assessment to viewing them as unique human beings. Currently, the system treats them all the same!”
Dr. Bharat Krishna Shankar, Chairman, Aparajitha Corporate Services, remarked that his long standing engagement with Corporation Schools has convinced him that students in these schools are second to none in terms of intelligence, creativity and talent! He said that he was hopeful that “Happy Schooling” would bring back the smiles on the faces of students and the school would be a place of fun and joy. “That would be a real Ram Rajya for youngsters,” he said amidst thundering response.
Dr. K. Sekar, Registrar, NIMHANS, motivated students about the importance of believing in the beauty of their dreams. “Abdul Kalam, a student of a Corporation school, sent rockets to space. Why can’t you send miracles?”
Nidhi Pundhir, Director, CSR Lead, HCL, remarked that while we recognize education as a basic child right, it is equally important that we are aware that it goes hand in hand with the Right to a ‘Happy’ School!
Hon. Justice J.Nisha Banu highly appreciated the program and she also stressed that such programs are the need of the hour. She congratulated the team to think, formulate and bring to practice such important and useful programme to the student community.
Last but certainly not least, it is a source of pride and gratification for MSCT&RF and everyone part of this initiative that Shiv Nadar, industrialist, philanthropist and Founder-Chairman, HCL, also studied in a Corporation School in Madurai!!