Farheen Naseem, is not your conventional school topper for the Class 12 boards. This 17-year-old daughter of a daily wager at a tea stall near Jama Masjid did not even have books for political science and sociology in Urdu language.
Her mother does tailoring jobs to supplement her father’s income to support the family that lives in a Matia Mahal by-lane. “I had at least read the political science book borrowing it from my teachers or fellow girls … but not once did I get to touch the social science book,” said Naseem.
She studies at the Urdu medium Rajkeeya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya Number 2, Jama Masjid.
Surmounting various odds, the teenager secured overall 84% with 94 in political science. In fact, she secured more than 65% marks in all subjects.
Her classmate Umra Mohammed Fazil, too, faced odds more than what an average 16-year-old does. Her father became paraplegic after he was injured in wall collapse and her mother works as a domestic aid.
Fazil took care of her younger brother, looked after the house and still found time to study.
“I did not have the social science textbook. Thanks to my teachers, specially the principal, I could study and pass,” the girl who scored 81%, said.
Said Dr Shabana Nazir, principal of the girls’ school with 100% result. “We get students mostly from economically weaker strata. Most of them are first generation learners. Their families lack appreciation for the child’s education.”
Non-availability of textbooks in Urdu are the main problems, said Jamilur Rehman, principal of the Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Pataudi House, Daryaganj.
“In case of boys’ schools, the problem is clubbed with earning. They study for half the day and then have to work with their fathers for rest of the day,” said Rehman. Despite such problems as many as 86% of the children from his school passed Class 12.
Firoz Bakht Ahmed, a teacher by profession and associated with Friends for Education since 1984, pointed out: “Urdu medium results will improve only if the NCERT translates the Urdu medium texts in time, umpteen vacancies are filled up and the state funds are sufficient.”
Sources said, there has been no recruitment of Urdu medium teachers since 1995. Guest teachers are hired to tide over the problems. Despite such problems, Fatehpuri Muslim School in Chandni Chowk has a success rate of 68%. Hakim Ajmal Khan Girls’ School and SKV Jaffrabad scored 90% each.