S Madhumitha, a class 10 student at Nesal Government High School in Arani, Tamil Nadu, assumed charge as headmistress on January 27. Though just for a day, the exercise is an attempt by the school’s headmaster G Venkatesan to motivate and inspire the students to perform well in class 10.
The topper in the recently-held half-yearly exams gets to act and serve as the school’s headmaster for one day. While five students scored above 400 in the class, Madhumitha topped with 447 marks out of 500, bettering her previous aggregate of 82% in the quarterly exams.
On Monday, Madhumitha began her day at 9.45 am with a speech at the assembly and supervised the activities in the school by inspecting classes. She said, “In the speech, I asked them to work hard to make the school popular with better academic performance. I urged them to try their best to make the school a brand which is known outside our village.”
A day’s salary of ₹3,000 which will be allotted for her service will be directed towards school expenses, according to her discretion.
Venkatesan, who was earlier teaching at the Tiruttani Girls High School near Thiruvallur, was appointed as the headmaster in the village’s high school with a student strength of 154 from classes 6 to 10, last year.
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The post was filled after being vacant for a few years and that had impacted the performance of students, he claims. He said, “The class 10 results too have been averaging between 60 and 70% for the last few years. When I took charge, I thought this should be changed by boosting their performance and making them enthusiastic about studies.”
In November last year, he told the students that the topper in the half-yearly exams will be made to serve as the headmaster in the school for a day.
“I wanted them to aspire for the top to see how they can change lives for others. The student-headmaster also gives recommendations and suggestions to make the school a better place,” he said.
Madhumitha has recommended providing drinking water in earthen pots outside each class in the school.
The second among three girls, Madhumitha hails from a family of weavers and now aspires to an IAS officer. Madhumitha says that she is now more focused on performing well in the upcoming board exams.
Venkatesan says that the response from the students and their enthusiasm for stepping into his shoes has made the exercise fruitful. “I want to continue this exercise for quarterly and half-yearly exams for class 10,” he says.