It’s never too late to get an education, and this mother of two from Purba Laxmibil village in Tripura’s Sepahijala district has proved it by appearing for her secondary school certificate examination at the age of 36.
Smriti Banik took the examination, which began on March 3, with one of her daughters. “It is really good to see a mother of two daughters appearing for the madhyamik exam. She has proved that one can achieve success through hard work and determination,” said Anjali Sarkar, headmistress of the Office Tilla Higher Secondary School.
In the run-up to the examination, Smriti had to take at least two hours off from household chores every day to study. But that was something she didn’t mind – becoming a matriculate was a dream she had been harbouring for the last 20 years.
Smriti was forced to discontinue her studies after she was married off to Jiban Banik, a vegetable seller, in 1996. She was in Class 10 then.
“Even though the syllabus had changed, I managed to prepare for the examination over a period of two months. I hope to do well in my first paper – Bengali,” she said.
Smriti said that while her daughter had private tutors, she studied entirely at home. “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without support from my husband and in-laws,” she said.
She also runs a tea stall, the money earned from which is then used to fund her daughters’ education. Her younger daughter, Twinkle Banik, studies in Class 4 at the Purba Laxmibil High School.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of people – even those behind bars – are recognising the value of education. Three inmates from prisons across the state were among the thousands who appeared for the madhyamik and higher secondary school examinations this year.
Maran Pal, who has been serving a prison term for rape at the Udaipur Correctional Home in Gomati district since 2011, appeared for the higher secondary examinations this year. He had completed his matriculation from a school in Sabroom, south Tripura, in 2007.
Biswajit Pal and Sumesh Das, both murder convicts at the Bishalgarh Correctional Home, also took a shot at improving their educational credentials by appearing for the matriculation and higher secondary examinations this year.