What does a parent do when he/she wants to admit his/her child in a school?
- You would create a list of schools whose vision align to your vision of education
- You start visiting schools and meeting principals
- Start collecting all the documents necessary for the admission and pay the fees
- Buy school uniform, school books -notebooks, stationary and
- Your kid is ready to go to school
But what happens if there are no schools in your locality that matche your requirements?
What happens if documents are incomplete?
What happens if parents are not around?
What happens if with all these obstacles in his/her way a child wants to go to a school, study in a class, meet new kids …Do you think it is possible?
Farooq is a young 7 year old boy I met during one of my recent school visits. I saw him for 3 days continuously sitting outside the school I was visiting, under a tree and doing nothing but looking into a class right opposite that tree.
Initially I thought he was skipping class but never understood what stopped him from going back to home or hang around in the village instead.
Then one day, all of a sudden Farooq came up to me and said the most unexpected thing.
He said,“Didi, muje school mai padna hai muje dakhila dilwa do” (I want to go to school, please get me enrolled).
I got confused and asked him the reason for the delay. He replied stating constant relocation issues, absence of father, long working hours of mother and absence of birth certificate among many other reasons.
Gauging the sensitivity of the situation and determination of the kid I went to a senior teacher in the school and asked her to admit the boy. But the lack of birth certificate and leaving certificate from the past school created hindrance in the admission process.
Moreover, a midyear admission would have resulted in a whole lot of admin work for the teachers. Hence, Farooq was sent back and asked to come again with his documents and mother.
The grief on Farooq’s face was clearly visible but he promised to come back with his mother and try again.
Next day Farooq showed up but his mother had to work and was unable to visit the school. Farooq on the other hand came to try for admission once AGAIN.
But the results were the same; he was sent back; AGAIN.
Disappointed by these rejections, Farooq sat back under the tree and continued his routine of gazing inside the classrooms AGAIN.
This was the first time when I saw a real life example of difference between ‘want’ and ‘rules ’ and was the first time when I saw a child struggling to practice his Right to Education.
Every year since 2009, right to Education act has been instrumental in taking lakhs of kids between age 6-14years to the school and provide them free and compulsory education. It has improved India’s education scenario by taking first necessary step.
A part of the document suggests,
‘A child above six years of age who has not been admitted in any school or though admitted, could not complete his or her elementary education, then he or she shall be admitted in a class appropriate to his or her age. In special cases, where a child is required to move from one school to another, either within a State or outside, such child shall have a right to seek transfer to any other school, for completing his or her elementary education with the transfer certificate from previous school. For the purposes of admission to elementary education, birth certificate is necessary. Provided that delay in producing transfer certificate and age proof shall not be a ground for either delaying or denying admission in such other schools.’
If this holds true, then why do Farooq and kids like him face this struggle?
Why the rules or policies which were meant to help them are becoming hurdles in their situation?
Is education for them a dream because they can’t produce certain documents or have parents who care about it?
Truth is rules are meant to keep order and policies are made to help people but there must be some flexibility in the system that avoids such struggles for kids like Farooq who just want to LEARN when,
- There is no vision
- No options for schools
- Lack of documents
- Disinterested parents
- No financial help
By Ritika Shukla – Educational Specialist