Parents of children in rural India, like parents everywhere in the world, want the best education for their children. They are prepared to travel miles to get their children into a good school. This year there were many from well outside our normal 5 km catchment area. Two families were from 60 kilometres away and were intending to send the children to live with relatives in the area, if they got a place. The result is that we had 1,160 children apply for the 250 places in our primary schools.
If you click the arrow on the picture it will take you to a short (4 minute)
film of the enrolment process at our Guria Primary School. All those children are competing for just 40 places. The children come dressed up, many parents having bought new clothes for the occasion. It is so sad that we cannot take more children. It must also be disheartening for the staff to spend such a huge amount of time giving every child a fair chance, only to have to disappoint such a large number.
This is the first year that the girls from our experimental
Turkahan Pre-school were applying to enter primary school. We were pleased when four out of the top five girls passing the entrance exam were from this school. One, Yashoda (second from left), was considered too young to start formal school but she is guaranteed a place next year.
We have only 120 places in our middle schools and 40 in our secondary school. This year we allowed children from outside to apply for places in our middle schools. 115 children sat the exam but only 7 won a place. This, we feel, is more symptomatic of the quality of the teaching in the schools they have been attending, rather than the intelligence of the children applying.
The difference between success and failure, for all the children, is enormous. It is, therefore, a very emotional time for the children and even more so for some children, like Shivani, who came crying to Mukesh, the Headmaster. She had passed to go to our secondary school but her father would not let her attend. However, after discussing it with him, he has now agreed that she can continue with her education.
Shivani in her new class
|New intake to Guria Primary School|