For most people in her area, Kusum Devi is nothing short of a hero. She was the first one in Rajiv Camp, Jhilmil industrial area, to get her son admitted in a school under the economically weaker section category.
“It was such a struggle! Schools would turn me away from the gates, refusing to let me even enter the premises. But I had decided that my son would get proper education no matter what it takes,” the mother of three says.
She spent her days standing outside schools and in the offices of the education department and finally managed to send her son to a neighbourhood private school. Three years later, each house in the resettlement colony, where most men work in one of the numerous factories, has at least one child studying in one of the many private schools in the area.
The parents are happy with the attitude of the teachers towards students and the quality of education in these schools as compared to government schools.
“Beti English bol leti hai, likh bhi leti hai. Achha lagta hai ki kuch seekh rahi hai (My daughter can speak in English, she can also write in it. It feels good to know that she is learning something),” said Kavita, whose daughter joined class 1 in Dayanand Model School in 2010.
While most people in the area are happy with what and how their children are learning, the cost is another matter. Even though the parents are not supposed to pay anything for the education of a child under the EWS category, parents say they are forced to pay anything between Rs. 5,000 and 10,000 per annum under various heads such as books, uniform, computer fee and excursion fee.