The Problems Faced By Parents

Haseena, 35, Housewife, New Delhi
Haseena, 35, Housewife, New Delhi

We moved to Delhi six years ago when my husband lost his job at a garment factory in Moradabad. Gulabshah, the eldest of my four daughters, was 13 then and had to drop out of school. She was bright and wanted to become a doctor. We took her to a government school in Seelampur, but she was denied admission as we were unable to produce a transfer certificate. A year later, my son Ubesh too dropped out of school. He was just 10. Now he works with his father in a garment factory. Three other daughters — Tehseem, 13, Anamta, 8, and Uzma, 6, — all go to a nearby government school. They wish the school had swings. In addition to buying stationery, we also have to spend 1,200 per child every year for private tuitions. Without tuitions, I don’t think my daughters would study well. What is the point of providing free education when I end up paying for the teachers’ shortcomings? As long as I can ensure that my girls go to school, I don’t even mind going to sleep hungry.

As told to Nupur Sonar

Baby Banwal | 27

Housewife, Lucknow

Daughter studies at Navsrijan School

My daughter (Rani, 8) has been going to school for three years. I drop and pick up my daughter from school every day. My husband and I run a paan shop, and earn around 50 a day. We are happy with the school. We don’t have to pay any fees and the school also provides the uniform and textbooks. It even gives fruits to the children. Rani seems to be learning a lot and can manage her homework on her own; there is no need for tuitions. She’s happy with her teachers too.

As told to Aradhna Wal

Shakuntala Devi  | 35

Housewife, New Delhi

Son studies at a government school in Malviya Nagar

My 9-year-old son often complains that his teachers don’t come to school regularly. When there are no teachers, kids from different classes are asked to sit together and study. My son says he hates studying with kids from a different class because concepts get mixed up. Despite all that, I try my best to ensure that he is studying. The rest is up to fate and the will of god.

As told to Nupur Sonar

Pappu Yadav | 36

Casual Labourer, Mumbai

I studied only until Class VIII at a BMC school, but it was very different from the one my son goes to now. I had three brothers and three sisters, all of whom went to school, but I fell into bad company at an early age and became a local dada. The teachers would come every day, just to hit us, so I didn’t feel too bad bunking classes. We would get bread and milk in school, which was good, but soon I just stopped going altogether. My son is 11 and I put him in this BMC school. He studied at a different school in the jhuggi before this, but I wanted him to go to an Englishmedium school, where they taught him English… In English, and not Marathi! Without education, you can only become a manual labourer like me. But my child will become an officer.

As told to Nishita Jha

Sumati, 39, Housewife, New Delhi
Sumati, 39, Housewife, New Delhi

Two daughters and a son study at a government school in Trilokpuri

Two daughters and a son study at a government school in TrilokpuriI work as a cook at six different homes. Each household gives me between 1,000-2,000. I have three children — two daughters aged 10 and 7, and a son who is 12. I studied until Class VII. My stepmother was jealous because I would top my class. Fearing that I would earn more, she took me out of school and forced me to work.

When my kids were born, I decided I would work and earn money, only so that they would have a future that had been snatched away from me. I put all three of them in a government school near my jhuggi. Unfortunately, my husband does not think it is necessary for them to study, especially the girls. He drinks and tries to steal the money meant to be their fee for alcohol. On more than one occasion, he has shown up at their school drunk and tried to take them away. Once, he actually convinced the teacher to let him take the children ‘home’; he put them on a bus and sent them away to his village in UP. It took me more than a month to find them. When I brought them back home, the school refused to re-admit them. I had to beg and plead with the principal to take my children back.

The teachers love my eldest son. He usually does very well in class. I know that all three of them deserve better lives than mine. And it is up to me to make sure they get it.

As told to Nishita Jha

Ram Prasad | 45

Farm Labourer, Neoli Karsanda, Uttar Pradesh

Son studies at a government school The teaching standards are so poor in the government-run schools that in the past 20 years not a single student from my village could study beyond high school. It’s the responsibility of the students and the parents to get educated, not that of the teachers.

As told to Virendra Nath Bhatt

Ram Kishore | 38

Sweetmeat Seller, Lucknow

I earn around 300-400 from my sweetmeat cart. My son Shubham studies in Class III. An acquaintance told me about the school and we got our son enrolled in it. He has always been studious and has been in this school for two years now. The school provides the uniform, shoes and books, and there are no school fees. He learns Hindi, English, computers and also yoga. He has never complained about his teachers. I will keep him in the school for as long as I can.

As told to Aradhna Wal

Vinay Kumar | 32

Farm Labourer, Neoli Karsanda, Uttar Pradesh

Two sons and a daughter study at a private school I decided to enrol my two sons and a daughter at a private school because the education standard in the government-run schools is very poor. Since my three kids go to the same school, they only charge fees for two. I had to make a lot of sacrifices for financing their education. I had to stop all expenditure on casual drinking, smoking and also taking my family to the mela in Barabanki during festivals.

As told to Virendra Nnath Bhatt

R Kaleemulla, 39, Small Entrepreneur, Bengaluru
R Kaleemulla, 39, Small Entrepreneur, Bengaluru Photo: Rudra Rakshit

R Kaleemulla| 39

Small Entrepreneur, Bengaluru

Daughter and son study at the IndianAir Force School in Jalahalli East

I supply red chilli powder to shops and earn around 1,500 per month. Both my wife and I went to Urdu-medium schools. While I studied until Class X, my wife dropped out after Class VIII. I had decided early in my life that my children would go to an English-medium school. We have two children — Azeez, 8, and Aaliya, 6. I wanted to make sure that they didn’t have to suffer like us. But it wasn’t easy. One private school asked for a donation of 1 lakh. Others just sent us away, saying they would not admit children of parents who were not educated or didn’t know how to use computers. Moreover, many schools refused to admit Azeez when they learnt that he was dyslexic. Finally, he joined the IndianAirForceSchool at Jalahalli East, which is 12 km away from where we live. Aaliya too joined the same school. Both of them commute in the school van. I have to spend 8,720 every three months on their school and van fees. I have requested the school authorities to consider exemption of fees. The school has an in-house psychiatrist who regularly monitors my son’s condition. I wish to see him complete his education and find a decent job.

As told to Imran Khan

 Rajeev Kumar | 36

Business Professional, Bengaluru

‘The donations demanded are back-breaking’

Daughter studies at BostonSchool I work as a senior business administrator for a software firm and earn about 10 lakh per annum. For my first child, Anjali, I was looking for a good private school. Many of these private schools were charging exorbitant fees along with donations ranging anywhere between 50,000 and 1 lakh.

My colleague and I had both set our eyes on Boston School, which demanded 1 lakh as donation with a monthly fee of 3,000. The said colleague could send his child to this school because he earned more than me and his wife was working; I couldn’t.

Finally, I settled for another school that demanded a donation of 15,000 with a monthly fee of 1,000. It’s a new school and does not have classes beyond Class II.

I’m worried about the fact that after Anjali is done with her Class II exams, I will have to look for a new school all over again. I have already begun saving as I’m likely to now spend 2 lakh on the donation.

Sending my daughter to a private school has benefited her in some ways. For instance, I think her communication skills have improved. And since mathematics is yet to be included in her syllabus, she is taking it easy for the time being. We do not have a regular parent-teachers meet.

I wish the school had a management committee that could heed to our suggestions on how to improve the standard.

As told to Imran Khan


Anil Sachdeva | 38

Autorickshaw Driver, New Delhi

Two daughters study at the Mira Model School in Tilak Nagar

Government schools are a waste of time and money. The English taught in Class VI at a government school is probably the same or less than what is taught in Class II or III in a private school. Children also fall under the influence of bad company at government schools. Half the time, the teachers don’t show up. If they do, they don’t care if the kids turn up. So, the children bunk and you will find them loitering in markets, playing cricket or smoking. I only studied until Class IX at a government school but both my daughters are studying at the Mira Model School in Tilak Nagar. The school sends text messages to parents to inform of any extended holidays. I make a maximum of 15,000 a month. Their monthly school fee is about 1,500 each and the elder one goes for tuitions, so that’s another 600. I will educate them as far as I can afford to.

As told to Shonali Ghosal


Phoolmati | 43

TEA Stall Owner, New Delhi

Daughter studies at a government school in Malviya Nagar

Vinay, my 10-year-old son, was rusticated because he and four other boys broke a bench. I don’t know why only my son was punished and not the others. It has been six months since he has been to school. Even if he is reinstated, he will lag behind or even end up losing a year. I have no faith left in the school, but do I have an option? I don’t earn enough to send him to a private school. My 8-year-old daughter Krishna too keeps complaining about school. Teachers wind up classes an hour early every day. Both of them have trouble picking up concepts. If they ask teachers to explain the concepts, they are told to shut up. They say, “Don’t ask again and again, Explaining once is enough.” If this is how the teachers react to kids, then you tell me who should be asked to leave — my kid or the teacher?

As told to Nupur Sonar


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