A major chunk of the students in our school is struggling with fees. I don't even have to state the reason. Yes, it's COVID, a curse for the small business owners and daily wage earners. Right now, about 10-15 students in our class are in dire need of support. What hurts most is, some of these students are brilliant beyond words and can challenge the wits of the students of any top-end school in India. They are a pleasure to teach, and we would miss them in our classes. It would be a shame to see them leave. But probably that's what is going to happen unless we find a solution.
But worse still, this is a Private Budget School.
They serve a part of the community that survives on daily wages, and they are private, which means almost no monetary support from the Government. They have somehow managed to stick through one year of COVID, but right now, honestly, they are surviving by their teeth. If the money doesn't come in, soon they have to start letting go of their teachers, and then probably the school will go bankrupt. The school is reputed for its education. I can see that in the commitment of its Principal, Vice Principal, and teachers, and of course the 9 and 10 pointers in the final school exams. They are the inspiration that makes me work late nights and weekends. Many times I have asked the struggling parents why they moved their kids to this school from government school despite the fees, and their answer was always - "the quality of education Didi. We want them to grow up to be someone". The hope in their voice is contagious,
As of now, most students have pending fees in the range of about Rs 15,000/- each. And that just covers last year's fees. Some have been slipping on their payment from the year before. COVID lockdowns started in March last year. Add to that, from June, they have to purchase books and stationery for the new school year, which costs Rs2000-3000. Then there is another year of school fees. The same parents who hoped for the education of their child, are now thinking of admitting them to government hostels. How many times have I seen a mother cry when they shared the decision of the father. Unfortunately, that's all they can afford.
As an organization, Teach for India is already supporting the best they can by providing ration, devices, and internet expenses. But, that is not enough. But, every little help...