Education a pricey affair for the poor
Children are the future of the nation”… this quote doesn’t make sense when countless children are deprived of education even today. Every child’s...
Children are the future of the nation”… this quote doesn’t make sense when countless children are deprived of education even today. Every child’s dream is to study in a school with multiple facilities, which provide a strong academic programme, along with an exceptional faculty, a kaleidoscope of extra-curricular activities, a library and a big play area to unwind themselves from the daily dose of academics. But the dream of many such children from the economically-weaker sections in our city still remains unfulfilled.
Lower-middle class families cannot afford private and international schools. Besides affordability, the parents, who string together school expenses, fear the admission process as it requires them to go through the interview to admit their child.Many parents, who are illiterate, feel that there should be a programme by some of these schools to give an opportunity for children from the underprivileged sections so that their kids can live the dream of enjoying a regular school life in a widespread campus.
“With the salary we earn it’s very difficult to even think about getting our children educated in these big schools. On my way to work when I see children smartly dressed, waiting for their school bus, it hurts me as I feel that my child is not that fortunate. My son has to go to a government school in the nearby area and suffice with the education he is being provided, because that’s all we can afford,” says Mani Ratnam, who works at a hotel.
It’s not a one-time expense say parents, it’s an ongoing list of expenses that go on throughout the year. These ‘standard schools’, a few of them exhort fee illegally under various subheads which is a huge burden on parents’ with minimal salaries as they cannot meet some of the demands.Parents, who have been through an emotional roller-coaster ride during the admission process, still struggle to meet the demands of their children.
Rajesh Palaparthy, an employee at a private firm says: “I wanted my child to get standard education, where individual attention and specialised training is given during class hours. So I decided to lease my house to fund my child’s study in these plush buildings with all facilities, but it didn’t end at the admission process. There is a wish list that comes up every week, from a story book which is made a compulsion to an expensive pencil box to a school picnic, all of which comes with an additional expense.
A few the teachers insist on buying.” For many families that are struggling to eke a living it becomes a pricey affair.Though many parents are in a dilemma over the added expenses, some have been working extra hours or doing an additional shift to support their children’s needs. Parents live for their children; to fulfill every dream of their child will be every parent’s ultimate goal. “Our hard work seems effortless when we see them study hard and score well.
We forget all our troubles when we see our children learning new things at school. These schools provide the right balance of academics and activities. My son is doing everything I never did in school, so the extra work hours that we contribute to at work is worth it all,” says Lavanya B, a mother of two kids.
When asked Tushaar, Lavanya’s younger son what he wants to become when he grows up, he went on to say that he wants to become a pilot. “I want to become big one day. I want to be a pilot. I have many toys in my school and I like going to school. My favourite subject is maths as I like playing with the number board and I also like building blocks,” says the 6-year-old with a lot of happiness.
It’s their unlived dreams that these parents want to fulfill by getting their children the best education in the A-list schools. Expressing happiness, Sashidhar Mudiraj, father of 11-year-old Namitha, said: “My daughter loves dance, she bagged a medal and a trophy in the dance competition held at her school. These small schools do not allocate time for extra-curricular activities; neither do they have space to conduct such activities.
When I look at my daughter I feel a sense of pride that I’m giving her the best.” Laxmi Madhavi, mother of 9-year-old Aniketh, could not stop beaming with excitement. “My son excels in academics and also in extra-curricular activities. I encourage him to participate actively in all the competitions that are organised in his school. She was thrilled to find that her son was one of the top scorers when she attended a parent-teacher meeting recently,” she says.
When asked what she is most proud of her son’s achievements, “He speaks fluent English. I can’t speak English so his achievements make me proud, even though we are making ends meet to give my son this bright future, we never feel the pain of it,” she beams.
Sarath Chandra comes from a modest background but shows great interest when it comes to learning. His father works in a spring manufacturing company. The 13-year-old went on to say: “I want to make the most of the opportunities that come my way in school. I love the atmosphere of the school and love learning new things. My father works really hard to fund my education, so I ensure I study hard and give them a sense of pride when I get my progress card.”