"Chief minister J Jayalalithaa has allocated Rs 2.02 crore for construction of the building and an additional Rs 20 lakh for the lab facility and for the purchase of sport equipment," said S Chellam, joint director of kallar reclamation.
Though there are more than 280 kallar reclamation schools already functioning in the three districts of Madurai, Theni and Dindigul, this is the first time a kallar reclamation school exclusively for girls will be constructed in the state.
Talking about the first girls' school, Chellam said, "We expect at least 500 girls would be enrolled in the school in the first year after the completion of the building. In the following years, the number would gradually increase. The 376 girl students studying at the Government Kallar Higher Secondary School would be shifted to the new school," she said.
The order has been issued to encourage the enrolment of girl students in government school in Checkanurani area. In total, there are 27 kallar higher secondary schools, 25 middle schools, 25 high schools and as many as 207 primary schools in all the three districts.
These schools are unique in a sense and have a long history from the time of the colonial rule. In 1919, during the British rule here, a Criminal Tribes Act was enforced, according to which a male from piramalai kallar community has to submit his thumb impression at the respective police stations and stay there for the night, said P Theenan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu primary school teachers federation (Kallarpalli).
A protest against the Act resulted in a carnage as 16 persons, including a woman were killed as police opened fire against the protesting persons. The incidents took place at Perungamanallur in 1920, he said. In a bid to provide education to kallar children, the British established the kallar reclamation schools in 1921, Theenan added.