We have been busy getting admissions for the new centre and of course children are a plenty. After asking the names and age of each kid we ask whether they are in school, and the class they are in.
We were astonished at the number of children who said: I am in UKG. Many of them are seven and even older. Now UKG is not a class in municipal and government schools. These children are in small private schools which still have up to 3 years of pre-primary classes even though the education department has reduced them to one!
To many of us an extra school year does not matter as the children get sound foundations but for little girls like the ones in the picture it is a matter of great concern. Normally these girls are withdrawn out of school by 16 as that is when they are often married. If thew were in class I or II they would have a better chance of finishing their schooling and obtaining a certificate.
A quick perusal of their books showed that what they were learning was akin to what is taught in class I or even II in municipal primary schools. The reason why private schools have more classes is evident: extra fees and the reason why poor parents send their wards to such schools is also obvious: better teaching.
Yet we feel that these bright children should get a better chance at finishing their studies so we plan to convene a parents meeting and convince them to get their children admitted to the government school in class II next March. We hope they understand.