Kanpur: An Affordable School for the Children of Factory Workers and Labourers
A school in Dabauli, Kanpur has become a ray of hope for daily wage and factory labourers as it imparts education to 450-odd children at fees they can easily afford. Children from nearly 20 kilometres away come to study there.
Manish Dubey 28 March 2023 7:32 AM GMT
Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Most daily wage labourers spend their lives in squalor and abject poverty in their battered and rickety homes with tarpaulin roofs and cardboard walls, on either side of railway tracks or drains. They work hours every day in the factories and barely make enough to make ends meet. And, in their struggle to survive each day, educating their children takes a back seat.
But, Prakash Vidya Mandir Inter College, in Dabauli in Kanpur established in 1992, is considered something of a saviour to many families whose children travel from long distances to study here. The school has classes one to 12.
For as little as Rs 300 a month, the school provides quality education to the children in 500 square yards of space. And children come from areas nearer to it like Dabauli, Dadanagar and Panki, and also nearly 20 kilometres away from areas such as Nauraiyya Kheda. They are all children of labourers.
“We do our best to ensure we do not unnecessarily burden the parents of these children who are already leading hard lives. At the same time we do not want to compromise on the quality of education we provide them,” RP Singh, the principal of Prakash Vidya Mandir Inter College, told Gaon Connection.
There are 22 teachers who teach in the school and each one of them strives to impart the highest quality of learning to the 450 odd students who study there, the principal said.
“The children travel so far from where they live to study in this school only because we are affordable and because of the education we give them,” Pankaj Mishra, a teacher of the school told Gaon Connection. “It is not as if there are no schools where they live. There are plenty of schools but most of them are beyond their means. For us here, it is not the fees that is all important, but the fact that education is a Fundamental Right that all children should enjoy,” he added.
Educating children of factory workers
Bharat who plies an e-rickshaw has a son who studies in this school in class two. “There are days I earn not more than Rs 250 and on other days I manage to earn Rs 400. So, putting my son in an expensive school is unthinkable for me,” Bharat told Gaon Connection. In fact, though I pay less fees here, I know that the quality of education here is much better than it is in the more expensive schools,” he added.
The fee-structure of this school has allowed many labourers to dare dream of educating their children. “My husband and I both work in a factory as daily wagers. But we can afford the Rs 600 a month to educate both our children who study here,” Aradhana Tiwari, who works at the Panni plastic factory, told Gaon Connection.
She and her husband have a daughter who is studying in the school in class three and a younger son who is in class one. “It is no less than a boon to us that we are able to send our children to this school. It is a school that gives people like us hope,” she said.
Rajiv Soni, also a factory worker at a plastic factory, has a nine-year-old son who studies in class three at the school. “Even though I earn very little, it is enough to cover the cost of my son’s education, and I couldn’t be happier about it,” he told Gaon Connection.