Thiruvarur: Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai's words "One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world” could paint a clear picture of Panchayath Union Primary School, near Neelakkudi, in Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu.
The school has only two teachers, two rooms and 21 students. With this, the school is hoping to change the lives of children, most of them from backward community, in the village.
The plight of the school is testimony to the neglect of authorities. The students from classes 1 to 3 occupy one class room, while the rest are in the other room. The students will have classes for just one subject for a day and the session will be held either in the forenoon or in the afternoon.
When a group of students attend the classes, rest of the children get involved in drawing, painting or reading. The day's session is over in a single period.
"We are happy to have at least these 21 students. They all belong to scheduled castes and most of them are from families with poor financial background. We know that this system is not the proper way to teach children, but we are happy that we are at least doing this," says Punithavally N headmistress of the school.
Three years ago, more than 50 students were admitted to the school, but year by year the number decreased as people started sending children to private schools.
Adding to the worries, antisocials invade the school premises in the night. They even damage facilities like water taps and toilets.
"Despite repeated complaints they continue to do this and unless a compound wall is built it will be difficult to continue like this. Within three months we have changed at least 10 water taps," says Punithavalli.