The Alamelu Vidyashram School was started more than fifteen years ago. Public schools were far from the compound and orphan and destitute children had been treated badly there. The first year there was an LKG (Lower Kindergarten – age 4/5) housed in an open thatched building, then each subsequent year a new grade was added. Now the school goes to Tenth Standard (equivalent to grade ten in Canada) when all children write state examinations. About half the 130 children at the Sri Kanyakumari Gurukula Ashram attend and the rest of the students are made up of children from surrounding villages. There are about 350 children in all and the classes are mixed – girls and boys together.
Village children pay a very nominal fee and are picked up each day by a small bus owned by SKGI or are dropped off by parents. The teachers are all young college graduates; most are women waiting to be married who arrive by public bus from Nagarcoil, a city about 30 minutes away. The teachers are not paid high salaries but the school gives young graduates the experience they will need when looking for work after marriage. In the public system, teaching jobs are bought, often at quite a high premium; this is not the case at the Ashram school. Compared to the public system, The Alamelu Vidyashram school offers smaller classes and in a community setting, in the same compound where the SKGA children live.
You can see by the pictures that the classrooms are new, built by money from Denmark. The original thatch-covered structures were gradually replaced and surrounded by a concrete wall according to recent federal government regulation.The school has a strong emphasis on English, and is classed as an English Medium establishment.
The The Alamelu Vidyashram school is in urgent need of instructional materials of every kind; for example, the curriculum insists on the teaching of science and computer studies but the school is woefully underequipped to deliver the syllabus. Alamelu Children’s Homes (Canada) is actively looking for support for sports, science and general equipment to support the curriculum.