Can you brief us on the history of the school and the difficulties it faced at its initial stages?
The school was the dream of my parents,Subramaniam Pillai and Jeevratnam Pillai. We started off with the intention of delivering affordable English medium education to children who cannot avail the facility due to lack of capital. We had a plot where we constructed the school in 1989 and 14 children were admitted for the year. The biggest problem we faced was getting recognition from the Mantralaya. We met all their requirements,however,they were still not granting official recognition to us. What we lacked was internal or political sources at the Mantralaya. It was pure hard work and the patience that finally paid off and we got recognition in 1996. Our first batch of Secondary School Education,consisting of 12 students,finished school that year. The school grew since then. We never spent a penny on advertisements or in marketing the school. It was purely word of mouth and the school has grown exponentially from 12 students to almost 2600 students at present.
Can you tell us more about the academic scenario of the school?
Our school follows the Secondary School Education Board. The results have been quite imprssive over the years. theer has been tremendous improvement in the results of the students in the board examinations. Last year,several students got results ranging between 85 and 90 per cent. Many got distinction. There was not a single student who got second or third class.
We believe in the holistic approach to teaching. We just don’t stick to the prescribed syllabus. The concept of Value Addition Education is very much there in our institution. The teachers always tend to give some extra knowledge to the students which might not be there in the syllabus. The Central Board Of Secondary Education and the Indian Certificate Of Secondary Education have a vast syllabus which is needed for competitive examinations. S.S.E. Board,on the other hand,is coming up with the newer version of the syllabus. At Sungrace,the teachers encourage the students to read CBSE or ICSE books to gain extra knowledge. We do not restrict or confine anything when it comes to knowledge and education.
How much importance do you give to sports?
We tend to give a lot of importance to sports. Physical education class includes karate,yoga,table tennis,basketball,football. The classes are compulsory for four days a week. Our students participate in various inter and intra-school sports competitions. Every year,we also conduct our Annual Day function where we hire a big ground in the city wherein students from all classes take part in different sports events.
How much do you encourage the participation of children in co-curricular activities?
We understand the importance of cultural participation. For that,we have cultural weeks in our school where it is a compulsory for every student to get on stage and perform something. We feel that way we can also help decrease stage fright among students. Intra-school competitions like one-act plays,singing,dancing competitions,essay writing are held quite often to bring out talents. Recently,we did a salad-making competition which turned out wonderfully. Classes related to cultural activities are held twice a week. Participation in inter-school competitions is thoroughly encouraged. However,sometimes logistically the difficulty rises in taking our students to competitions held at far off places. We always participate in events held near to our school.
Do you see any increase in aggression among your students? How do you tackle this problem?
Yes,definitely there has been a noticeable increase in the levels of aggression among students. But isn’t it a common affair in the entire youth today? Our children belong to different cultural backgrounds. As school teachers,we groom them and do everything possible to curb such kind of behaviour. However,this largely depends on the kind of environment they live in. They tend to pick up habits or behaviour from home and the friends they keep. Peer pressure also plays a tremendous role in aggressiveness among students.
The solution to this problems is not through punishment. Punishment is psychologically incorrect and it can make the child more aggressive in turn. Here,at Sungrace,we believe in having a one-on-one discussion with the child and his parents to get to the root of the problem. Actually,time plays a vital role. We just need to give the kids some time to understand the wrongs,rectify them and finally accepting the right way.
Where will the school be in ten years?
Coming up with junior and senior colleges. We are looking at a much bigger picture now. We have plans to impart vocational training to the children. But that needs a larger space and well-equipped infrastructural facilities. We are mostly focussing on the infrastructure and funding bit as of now. There have been demands for more divisions and branches of the school from parents and well-wishers. We are also looking forward to catering to those demands once we solve the management problems.
We are very determined to take this school to a high peak point. It might take some time,but the reality isn’t that far.
What makes Sungrace students stand out in a crowd?
The biggest point that makes our students stand out from the rest is their honesty. Infact,there has been so many instances where the child has openly accepted his faults. We dont just prepare them to face the world outside,but also teach them to become a person who is idolized by all. We teach them to give respect,which is something that lacks in most children today. Sungrace-its make very good people who have moral and ethical values.