Christian Curriculum

Irula student sets an example for his community of 40 families by being the first graduate among them

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Madras Christian College.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Madras Christian College.

When P. Ponnusamy qualifies for the Union Public Service Commissions (UPSC) exams next year, he will have set an example for his community of 40 Irula families.

The resident of Agali hamlet near Melmaruvathur has completed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Madras Christian College (MCC). On Saturday, he received his diploma from the former governor of Odisha, MM Rajendran, at 43 rd Graduation day at school.

Mr Ponnusamy said: “My people are not aware of education. My college works specifically with tribal peoples. I chose to do a Masters in Social Work because it will help my people.

He was given a seat at Rajeswari Vedachalam Government College in Chengalpattu but chose MCC as it would be beneficial. “I am the first graduate student in my community. My parents are casual workers. My maternal uncle made sure I went to college,” said the former student of Sothupakkam Government Higher Secondary School.

He moved in with his uncle who lives in Madurapakkam about 10 km from the college, so he could focus on his studies, he said. His sister is in class XII and his brother in class X.

The 22-year-old has passed the UPSC preliminaries and is studying for the main exams. His uncle V. Durairaj said, “I work with a non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps free bonded laborers. As a social worker, I knew teachers, and with the help of a few volunteers, I managed to get him admitted to college.

Mr. Ponnusamy is a beneficiary of a Service Learning Science Communication Camp that the MCC Department of Chemistry has been running since 2017. NGOs, then through government scholarships to MCC,” said MCC Director P. Wilson.

He said a survey had identified that tribal students were forgoing science disciplines in higher education. However, a tribe-specific curriculum and pedagogy at the school level would encourage more students to choose science, he said.