Shanmughan, now 58, to be made permanent as Alternative School teacher
Karulai (Malappuram): Kuttimala Onathara native Shanmughan used to reach the Alternative School in Mundakkadavu walking 15 kilometres through the forest path. He has been doing it for 23 years. As an honour to his effort, he got the chance to be appointed permanent at the age of 58.
The government’s decision to make permanent the teachers of Alternative Schools after 24 years paved the way for regularization of Shanmughan’s post. He is teaching at Kuttimala Alternative School at present. Shanmughan is happy as the demand of Alternative school teachers were accepted. Shanmughan started literacy campaign in villages and tribal areas since 1990s.
When Alternative School was started in Mundakkadavu in 1997, he was given charge as teacher. It was one of the 30 Alternative schools started in Kerala in the first phase. A self-learning card system was followed in Alternative School modelled after Rishi Valley in Andhra Pradesh.
There was no transportation facility in the beginning and Shanmughan used to walk all the way to the school. About 8 kilometres distance was through forest full of wild animals. As this was difficult and unsafe, he stayed at the school for about seven years to teach the tribal kids.
Shanmughan also managed to admit more children of tribal community in the school and make the people aware of social evils like alcoholism. He took all the effort while receiving only Rs 1000 as pay. The wage was increased to Rs 3000 only recently. Shanmughan also served as district and state level office-bearer of Alternative School Teachers Association.