Right guidance and mentorship is of utmost importance for disadvantaged students - TN Minister Dr. P. Thiaga Rajan

Business MInutes

When news of my intervention to help Treithusha (the Sri Lankan Tamil refugee rank-holder), secure admission was circulated, I received a request about another young refugee, Saritha, who also required assistance.

This young woman, who lives in the Dindigul refugee camp, had scored 578/600 marks in the board exams, and wanted to pursue B. Com (I.T.). Since there was no college offering such a course locally, the girl wanted to study in Madurai, having selected the Yadava College, where such a course was offered. 

When I sought help from the college administration, they informed me with deep gratitude that my father had been instrumental in getting the college established (which I was not aware of till then), and that they would provide not only the admission AND hostel facility, but would do it at no cost - and hence not allow me to pay for anything!

I am deeply thankful to the Trustees and the Principal for their kindness, and sense of gratitude for help received almost 50 years ago.

Through divine grace, our family has been blessed for many generations with the good fortune of helping many children get admission into schools or colleges and paying their fees. I frequently meet people, even Professors, IAS officers and Judges, who mention receiving my forefather’s support in some form during their educational progress. As in other aspects, I am merely following in the footsteps of my forefathers, with the basis of the enormous goodwill they left behind.

I believe that we will someday live in a world where there is enough social equity that such interventions will no longer be needed. Until we get to that point, we each must do what we can, to the best of our ability... 

But far more than admission support or financial assistance, the right guidance and mentorship is of utmost importance for disadvantaged students, especially young women (from marginalised communities or refugees). As a society we must create an environment where they are motivated to study, achieve, and excel – as much as children of privilege are motivated to do so by their families and communities. This is why I am a firm believer in the policy of reservations. Although it might be inefficient in terms of resource-allocation in the short term, it creates forerunners; it creates a pipeline. The beneficiaries of such reservations – many of whom will be pathbreakers and first-timers - will serve as relatable-examples, guides, and mentors for future generations...

In that context, the career guidance that Treithusha & her parents found from our 30-minute discussion is of far greater value, in my view, than the support towards admission, hostel facility access, and fee payments that we were able to obtain for Saritha, or indeed the many others we help every year.

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