For the past few years, Jai Prakash Valmiki (20) has been working as an office boy by day and studying at night. When the results came out on Thursday, his efforts had paid off: He scored 68.3 per cent.
“It’s been difficult working and studying and commuting between home and school but I somehow managed to do it,” said Valmiki, a student of St Xavier’s High School Night School, who would spend up to three and a half hours travelling from his home in Belapur to his school in Dhobi Talao.
Last year, he lost his father. A few months ago, he lost his sister. But his resolve did not waver. “I want to keep studying, at least till graduation,” he said. Similarly, his classmate, Pavan Kumar Rai, who works at the Bombay High Court canteen, scored 54 per cent.
Night school students in the city battle the hardest odds to complete their education. Most of them work during the day, travel long distances and take care of families.
Ruksar Bhoriya, (76.18 per cent), is the first in her family to have passed the SSC exams. “My father arranged for my Math tuitions even when it cost him Rs 500 a month,” said the 16-year-old, whose father is a taxi driver.
Night schools put in efforts to help students with extra classes and meals. “Many of our students are from economically weaker sections, which is why the school has to be even more involved in pushing them to do well,” said Alka Lopes, principal, Canossa Convent Night School.