Pratik Ramchandani, 13, has decided not to splurge on crackers this year. Instead, he wants to use the money to contribute towards his school fees.
Snigdha Datta, 16, has given up on burgers and multiplexes after she made a presentation on the impact of the financial crisis on India.
Disha Shah, 12, will give away her expensive international curriculum textbooks to her juniors so that they won’t have to spend on new ones.
As markets crash and the word ‘recession’ makes its way into newspapers and TV sets, schools across Mumbai have started educating children on the global meltdown, being thrifty and are asking students to devise ways in which they can curb expenses.
At R.N. Podar School in Santacruz, Class 11 students from all streams were called for a session, where two guest speakers — a Lehman Brothers employee and an IIM alumnus — were invited to explain the economic situation. After the session, students were also told about the importance of saving.
“The presentation helped me understand what is happening and how it affects each of us. I have decided to cut down on personal expenses like expensive multiplex outings and junk food,” said 16-year-old Snigdha Datta.
Schools believe that parents will not be blunt with their children and discuss their financial issues, so it is up to the schools to do their bit.
“I have asked my students to reduce their demands and focus on needs more than wants,” said B. Seymour, principal of G.D. Somani School in Cuffe Parade, who began the school’s annual Diwali party with an address on how children should curb unnecessary spending.
At D.G. Khetan International School in Malad, students have been told to think of ways in which they can help their parents. “I felt proud that at such a young age my daughter has understood what is happening and wants to make an effort to understand her family,” said Jayesh Shah, 12-year-old Disha’s father.
Several schools in Goregaon are holding seminars for their students. The Goenka Associates and Educational Trust, which runs three schools in and around the area, is planning student sessions on the financial crisis once school reopens after Diwali.
“The issue has to be addressed. It looks like times will get tougher and this generation, which has grown up during an economic boom, must learn how to conserve,” said Usha Raina, CEO of the trust.