Tamil Nadu, December 23, 2016: Every year, in Sikkarayapuram, the annual festival of the ancient Shiva temple brings joy to the students of the Government Primary School.
During the festival, the school remains closed. This is not due to some old age tradition; instead, it is because the educational institute is built on the same premises as the temple. The Headmistress of the school R. Rani, believes that the festival binds all the people living in the neighborhood. The school completes the syllabus a bit early so that children can be a part of the festival. Also, it ensures that festival celebration does not hamper the functioning of the school.
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Founded 26 years ago, the school is situated in Sikkarayapuram, one of the 42 villages of the Kundrathur Panchayat Union in the Kancheepuram district. Before the school was built by the elderly of the village, children had to walk six kilometres to attend the government school in Kundrathur.
According to The Hindu, the school is built on the premise of ancient Shiva temple, with lingam as its core deity. There were two reasons for selecting the temple for the school. One, the temple is situated on the Kundrathur Main road. The road connects the major neighborhoods including Poonamallee, Kundrathur, Porur and Mogalivakkam. Two, the temple was considered safe for the schoolchildren as devotees and residents from the neighborhood frequently visited the temple.
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Manogaran, former president of Sikkarayapuram Village Panchayat, said, “As the neighborhood does not have private schools, the state-run school up to middle level (class eight) provides basic education for our children in the locality. As the temple is located on the busy stretch, easy connectivity to the school is an advantage.”
Started in 1990, the school has around 70 students, with 50 percent girls. New classrooms were built recently. Most of the students are from the migrant families who work in the nearby units of quarries. A government school, up to class eight, is located on the same stretch, just a few hundred meters away from the primary school.
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For class ten and above, children have to travel to Kundrathur where higher level government schools are located. Temple authorities schedule the morning and evening prayers before and after the school hours. They make sure that students are not distracted by the sound of the puja. The temple does not even have a loudspeaker or temple bells to ensure that students are not disturbed while studying.
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