Who is the only national best teacher winner from Tamil Nadu?

Ramachandran from the Ramanathapuram district is the only recipient from Tamil Nadu of the national award for the best teacher.

ByUmar Sharieef

Published Sep 05, 2022 | 10:54 PMUpdatedSep 05, 2022 | 10:54 PM

Ramachandran with students

Nagalakshmi had all the right to jump for joy to her heart’s content. After all, her 40-year-old husband K Ramachandran received the national award for the best teacher in Delhi on Monday, 5 September.

Attending a phone call from South First, Nagalakshmi sounded happy as her husband was the only teacher from Tamil Nadu to receive this prestigious award, which he did from President Droupadi Murmu.

She couldn’t attend the function as she had to take care of his child.

As many as 46 teachers were selected from across the country for this national award.

Who is Ramachandran? 

Ramachandran is a second-grade teacher in a Panchayat Union Primary School in Bogalur Union in the Ramanathapuram district.

The president gave him a certificate of appreciation, a silver medal, and a cheque for ₹50,000.

Born to farmer couple Pethayi and Kamachipillai in the Ramanathapuram district, he grew up in a middle-class family. His parents passed away many years ago.

Ramachandran did his primary schooling at Sembongudi Primary School. For secondary and senior secondary education, he attended a government-aided school in Thiruvaranga.

He wanted to study at the District Teacher Education and Research Institute but did not get through.

His wife said he worked in a tea shop in Madurai to make a living when he was young. He is the sole breadwinner for his family.

The times tested Ramachandran: Even after completing teacher training at the Manjur District Teacher Education and Research Institute in 2002, he didn’t get a job.

In 2005, he joined as a primary school teacher near Thondi in the Ramanathapuram district.  From there, he completed BSc Mathematics, BEd, and MSc Mathematics through correspondence.

In 2008, he was transferred to a Government Primary School in Bogalur in Keelambal and worked there.

He received the best teacher award at the district level in 2018.

Ramachandran’s achievements 

The school where he works has 30 students in Classes 1 to 5. The strength of the school was just 18 when he joined in 2008.

Ramachandran firmly believed in the quality of education, and he transformed the classrooms into smart classrooms. He also motivated the students to learn piano and silambam, besides buying android phones out of his own pocket for his pupils to study online.

He has also set up a herb garden to keep the school campus green.

During the lockdown imposed by the state government due to the Covid-19 pandemic, when barbershops were closed, Ramachandran went directly to the students’ homes and cut their hair.

Nagalakshmi added that her husband used to obtain a vehicle pass from the Ramanathapuram district collector’s office before approaching the area where the students live, and gathered them together to educate them by following measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

She added that he spends most of his salary on the development of the school and its students. She told South First that their needs are less, and they make do with what is left.

Better education is the objective

Ramachandran was busy and surrounded by other teachers, the President, prime minister and other officials in Delhi on 5 September, the day he received the award.

Despite the bustle, he took out time to respond to the South First’s attempt to reach him.

Ramachandran told South First that his objective was to motivate and establish a rapport with the students.

He dedicated the award to his students, teachers, family, and the people of Tamil Nadu.

“The students here are showing great interest in education. I believe I have made some changes, and am doing what I can. I’m so grateful that I’m the only Tamil Nadu teacher selected for this Central government award, ” he said.