New Delhi: Around 3 pm, 7-year-old Sadhna was wandering barefoot through the Chilla border slum, which is close to the Noida-Delhi border. Most of the slum dwellers are from Lucknow, and they have all moved here due to a lack of job opportunities. The slum is located behind a ShaniMandir. There was a huge commotion as some kids were excited to get school supplies like kits and bags, the other kids seemed to have no idea what was going on. While some students were waiting under a small shed for the commotion to end so they could sit for the classes, other parents appeared to be upset for not taking their children into consideration.
Geeta, who is an eighth grader herself, has been a teacher. “Many kids do not have Aadhaar cards, so they cannot enrol in schools. “The parents are also not concerned about the future of their kids,” Geeta told The Sunday Guardian. Currently, she teaches basic English, Hindi and Maths to 26 students. Some of the students are regular, while others either keep on disturbing the class or simply do not attend. Most students are below 8 years old.
Several parents, indicating Geeta, have said that the teacher only teaches for a few hours and most of the students do not understand what they study; so they thought of taking their children to a government school for admission. “Even when we go to the government school, the authorities ask us to bring several documents and this is a hassle,” one parent told this paper.
Raj, 12, is talented in math and wants to learn more. The admission to the school made him feel fortunate. His parents told this paper, “When we first went to the school, the authorities asked us to get some documents, but it was a hassle because they didn’t mention getting all the documents at one go. We were persistent and finally, he got admission.” He stated that several parents have work commitments that prevent them from regularly checking in with the school administration. Money has played a big factor for slum dwellers; so most of them leave the education of their children at the hands of Geeta.
While speaking to this correspondent, Geeta recalled, “I am associated with an NGO and I believe around 7 students got admission to a nearby government school because of the NGO. We are still trying to see if more students can get admission. A few days back, some police officials came and said some of the students were eligible to go to school and they would help us with the admission procedure.”
While crossing the Noida-Delhi border, IPS Officer Love Kumar suddenly came across the students. After talking to a few students, he and his officers decided to help the students get admission to the nearby government school. “The school has admitted more than 30 students. When we visited the place there were only 15-16 kids. On Tuesday, we will distribute school kits and then they will be ready to go,” IPS officer Love Kumar told this paper. “We will try to help other children who have not got their admission to the school, we need some time for that,” said another officer.