I am from the generation that grew up to Aamir Khan mouthing, “Papa kehte hain bada naam karega..beta humara bada kaam karega….” (Dad says I will be a big man and I will do some awesome work …)

That is exactly the hope of every parent who send his/her child to a school. And more so in the case of parents from the lower socioeconomic sections of the society. In many cases their children are first generation learners. The parents believe that by sending their students to school against all odds they themselves will have a better future soon? How so?

The hope is that the student will lo and behold become a graduate and get a govt job or a job in a big company and then all they have to do is enjoy a retired life away from their everyday struggles. You must remember the parents in question are daily wage earners who have a foot to mouth existence with all the perils of poverty added in.

Is it that simple from a student’s perspective? In our Govt school system, school is a safe haven. Students come, have a social experience, get free lunch, study from their teachers and soon head back home to their reality. With no guidance how are they to figure out their journey till graduation and finally a job? The answer came from a 13 year old Lakish of a Govt school who very honestly advised, “there is no future for students like us. With no idea on what to do after 10th class?”

This remark might have come out at a moment of frustration. But it does bear an iota of truth. Many parents are uneducated, short on finances, while classrooms are filled with students and results to deliver. The other part of the truth is that our students have fire in their belly and do wish for a better tomorrow with all their heart. They are smart. Despite the many challenges our students come to school and sit through classes that they might or might not understand for reasons of learning levels, language (migrant students), hungry tummies, fatigued after doing their morning chores/jobs, parents fight at night, noisy neighborhoods, unhealthy living spaces and many more.

Our students believe that they will have a better future than their parents due to the 10 years of education they have received in their schools. Let us unite efforts to deliver on their hopes and perseverance by building their ability to plan and succeed in their career goals.  

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