For two-thirds of his career, P Kannappan has worked in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu as an IPS officer. A former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Kannappan has also served as the commissioner and Superintendent of Police in Tirunelveli district, Superintendent of Police in Sivagangai and Ramanathapuram. He has also worked in various departments like CB-CID, CBI, Intelligence and state police (Law and Order).
He has nabbed hundreds of criminals in his life, but as he neared his retirement, Kannappan decided that his life’s mission is to help the younger generation realise their potential.
“I have worked in the southern districts, so I know the pulse of the people living there,” says Kannappan. “After retiring, I wanted to do something for the people living in Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli district. I knew that the students are not able to pursue higher studies due to lack of infrastructure,” he said.
In July 2016, Kannappan took the help of an NGO - Grama Udhayam - to take the first step in this direction. And last year, he started teaching students from different government schools in Tirunelveli at the the MDT Hindu College Higher Secondary School, to help them score well in their board exams.
“The volunteers from the NGO went to different government schools and chose students who were from weaker sections of the society and who need help in education,” he said.
The 450 selected Class XII students from Tirinelveli and Thoothukudi were then brought to the MDT school for special classes.
“They are very brilliant students but face lack of infrastructure and proper education. It took two months to shortlist the students,” Kannappan said.
When the Class XII results came, Kannappan and other volunteers’ hard work paid off. “We used to meet them once a month, clear their doubts and speak to them about the problems they face. About 17 students got 1,100 marks, 19 students got between 1050 and 1100 and 32 students scored between 1000 and 1050 marks,” he said.
He added that there is one main teacher and three assistant teachers with him in every class.
This year though, the team has decided to focus on 40 students from poorer sections of society, and help them crack competitive entrance exams. “This year, we have chosen 40 brilliant students from government and government-aided schools. We met them and their parents a week ago,” he said.
Image: These are the 40 students with their parents
They mainly want to guide the students and provide them with adequate support. “We want them to become ambitious about higher education. Most of the entrance examinations have questions from Class X to XII so we will equip them to clear it. Also, we want them to be confident when they speak in public.”
Kannappan says that it is a trial and slowly they want to expand it in future. “We will be taking 40 or 50 students from Class XI and XII, so that they can write the entrance examinations well. We will also provide them with study material, depending on the need of the students,” he said.