Slum children near Noida-Delhi border await school admission
New Delhi: At around 3 p.m., 7-year-old Sadhna was wandering barefoot through the border slum of Chilla, near the Noida-Delhi border. Most of the slum dwellers are from Lucknow, and they all moved here due to a lack of job opportunities. The slum is located behind a ShaniMandir. There was a huge commotion as some children were excited to get school supplies like kits and bags, other children seemed to have no idea what was going on. While some students waited under a small shed for the commotion to end so they could sit down for lessons, other parents seemed upset that their children had not been considered.
Geeta, who is in eighth grade herself, has been a teacher. “A lot of children don’t have Aadhaar cards so they can’t enroll in school. “Parents are also not worried about their children’s future,” Geeta told the Sunday Guardian. Currently, she teaches Basic English, Hindi and Mathematics to 26 students. Some students are regulars, while others continue to disrupt class or simply do not attend. Most students have under 8 years old.
Several parents, pointing to Geeta, said that the teacher only teaches for a few hours and most of the students do not understand what they are studying; so they thought of taking their children to a public school for admission. “Even when we go to public school, the authorities ask us to bring several documents and that’s a problem,” a parent told the newspaper.
Raj, 12, is good at math and wants to learn more. Admission to the school made him feel lucky. His parents told this newspaper: “When we first went to school, the authorities asked us to get documents, but it was a problem because they didn’t mention getting all documents at once. We were persistent and eventually he was admitted. He said many parents have work obligations that prevent them from regularly checking in with the school administration. Money has played an important role for slum dwellers; thus most of them leave the education of their children in the hands of Geeta.
Speaking to this correspondent, Geeta recalled: “I am associated with an NGO and I believe that about 7 students have been admitted to a nearby public school thanks to the NGO. We are still trying to see if more students can be admitted. A few days ago, police officers came and said that some students were eligible to go to school and that they would help us with the admission procedure.
While crossing the Noida-Delhi border, IPS agent Love Kumar suddenly came across the students. After talking to a few students, he and his officers decided to help the students gain admission to the nearby public school. “The school has admitted more than 30 students. When we visited the place there were only 15-16 children. On Tuesday we will distribute school kits and then they will be ready to go,” IPS officer Love Kumar told this newspaper. “We will try to help other children who have not been admitted to school, we need time for that,” said another officer.