Sixteen-year-old C Sreedevi from a tribal settlement in Annamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) became the first in her community to secure 95 percent in Class 10 board exams, the TOI reported. About a month ago, the Kerala government had arranged a special bus to help the girl, living in the forest area, reach the exam center. Sreedevi belongs to Poochukottamparai tribal settlement in Tiruppur District, on Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, where power supply and mobile network coverage are a struggle.

Sreedevi studied in a residential school in Kerala’s Chalakudy, and will now aim to pursue higher secondary education. “I can hardly believe I have scored A-plus grades – more than 95% – in my Class X examination,” said the girl. Her achievement is significant because most students from the community reportedly drop out after middle school or are married off.

Her father, M Chellamuthu, is a farmer. He was worried about his daughter not being able to reach the examination hall as she returned to her settlement after the lockdown was imposed. Kerala authorities had intervened and arranged a vehicle to transport Sreedevi from Tamil Nadu border to the school.

What You Should Know

  • A tribal girl from Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, Sreedevi scored A Plus grades in the Class 10 examination.
  • She had to travel 150 kilometres from her village to a school in Kerala to appear for the last exam which was postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Kerala government had arranged a special bus for her to reach the exam center.

Sreedevi had to travel through the forest, where the mobile signal is not available, to reach the examination centre. She sat alone in a room to write the exam. Also, after the examination,  she was required to quarantine herself the Mathrubhumi reported.

Sreedevi said that initially when the lockdown was announced she travelled on foot and on her father’s bike for several kilometers to reach the Kerala border. “I am really proud that my daughter has scored good marks at examinations. Let people say whatever they want, I will ensure she continues her studies further. We don’t want to hide our children within our settlement and restrict them from scaling professional heights,” said her father.

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“Amid stiff opposition, Chellamuthu took a brave decision to educate his daughter.. and the girl used the opportunity wisely. Taking her as an inspiration, we hope many villagers would come forward to educate their children,” said P Shanmugam, state vice-president of the Tamil Nadu tribal association.

Feature Image Credit: Mathrubhumi

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