Madurai Chapter – An Appraisal By S.Ramanathan, NSF Chapter Coordinator
The Madurai unit got established as part of Chennai Chapter in 2002-03 when BREAD was executing the NSF programme in India. With NSF taking charge of the Indian operations directly from 2004-05, the Madurai chapter also got formally established with S.Ramanathan Iyer as the Coordinator. The Chapter has now one volunteer, N.Nagarajan to work with the coordinator. The team works in unison and with devotion and the motto of “SERVICE ABOVE SELF”. The chapter has steady growth to its credit. The number of fresh NSF scholars selected which stood at 6 in 2002-03 has grown to 80 in 2012-13. The total number of scholarships stood at 173 in 2012-13. The systematic steps to achieve this growth and other cognate issues are outlined below:
Initially we depended only on the advertisement issued in local newspapers for getting applications. Over a period we have developed more potent channels. We have now regular contacts with like-minded NGOs. Further, use in also being made of the existing and past scholars of NSF to propagate the information mouth to mouth with good effect. Personally, because of my association with many schools, we disseminate information about NSF in the school functions and also have regular interaction with Headmasters/Principals.
While the chapter coordinator chairs the selection panel, it has 2 other members, one from the field of education and another from the field of administration and public relations. Currently the panel comprises
- 1. S.Ramanathan, Former UN Adviser and Chapter Coordinator.
- 2. Mrs. Subhadhra Ramakrishnan, Principal, Rotary Lahary School.
- 3. N.Nagarajan, Senior Superintendent (Retd.), National Sample Survey Organisation, Govt. of India.
Conscious efforts are put in to be in touch with the scholars, like Exchange of greetings. We have meetings of scholars located in and around Madurai and also special classes on personality development for them. We also have a system of award functions in which local dignitaries are invited.
In the interview for selection of candidates, effective probing is done to realistically assess the economic backwardness of the family and social commitment of the student. As the former director in National Sample Survey Organization, Government of India, a world famous expert organization in the conduct of socio-economic surveys, I could fully utilize my experience of in depth investigation to assess the reality, to the best of my ability. Shri. Nagarajan is also of great help in this regard.
To conclude, the Madurai Chapter has done its best to spread the ideals of NSF, among NGOs, educational institutions and the student community. The students have responded well and the future is certainly bright with many of them keen to do similar service in their lives, in times to come.