A year on, platform school at Mumbra struggles to attract students
Thane When platform school just outside platform number 2 at Mumbra railway station opened last year, Thane Municipal Corporation had hoped to enroll many children who did not have a chance to go to school.
With only 20 children on the rolls, the school is still facing teething problems.
The project was mooted in 2015, but the school opened last year. The municipal corporation handed over the school to NGO Umeed Foundation to run it.
“On an average, we see only 10 or 12 students attend school. Their parents are not keen on sending the children to school as they want them to earn money,” said Rihana K, one of the two teachers at platform school.
The children, who attend school regularly, are taught the importance of money and not spend it carelessly.
“We asked the students to save money in a piggy bank. With this, the children have not only learnt to save money but also utilise time in school,” she added.
Children have small piggy banks with their names written on them and they proudly show it. The money also helps them when they need it.
When seven-year-old Khushboo Singh told her teacher that her family needed money for her father’s treatment, she checked her piggy bank.
“I remembered my teacher had told me that we can save for a rainy day. When my teacher opened my piggy bank, she found ₹700 in it. They money was used for the emergency and my father was back on his feet soon. Later, my father put the money back in my piggy bank,” said Khusbhoo.
Although the school is yet to get better response, those studying here have improved in self-hygiene and self-development.
Thane Municipal Corporation started the school outside platform number 2 at Mumbra station with an aim to reduce the number of children vending on streets, platforms and trains.
Manish Joshi, assistant municipal commissioner, TMC, said that the children’s parents, who too sell nick knacks in trains and platforms, have never sent them to school.
“The kids are pushed into joining their parents. It will take time for the students to cope with the current syllabus. After they get used to it, we will enroll them in a school in the vicinity. This will help them to get proper education and mingle with other kids of their age,” said Joshi.
Mohammad Shaikh, 9, learnt how to maintain hygiene every day.
“Initially, as we had to pay to use the public toilet bathroom so we bathed only two to three days a week. After we started attending school regularly, teachers explained the importance to keep ourselves clean and tidy,” he said.
As the students have not yet started attending school regularly, the teachers cannot admit them for regular schooling. Many students are going to school for the first time and hence need to be taught everything.