Girls interrogated over school payment slips

No, this is not a joke.  I sent money with the girls to pay their computer fees for the year, along with a letter listing their names.  But a teacher told them that I had to fill out special forms and then take the money to the bank.  The teacher put four payment slips (see illustration below) in with the money and letter and sent it all home to me.  The next day when Gibi and another of our staff went to pick  up the girls, she stopped in the office to find out which bank, as we had never done this before. When she took out the slips, the man in the office became angry and accusatory, wanting to know HOW and WHERE the girls had gotten these forms.  It seems the forms are sold in a booklet  (below) at a cost of five rupees (ten cents) for twelve pages.  So the girls were called to explain how they got the forms. They related that “Aunty” had put them in the envelope.  He asked for the teacher’s name, class, when this had happened.

Two days later, after the money had been paid to the bank, the school asked that the girls bring proof, even though the bank is to do that.  I sent one of our staff, who didn’t know what had already happened, and she proudly brought home a book of slips for five rupees for the rest of the year (not knowing the fee was already paid for the full year.)  But then if she hadn’t, I couldn’t have scanned it for this post, so it’s worth the five rupees and more.

The five rupee fees book

I imagine that some teacher had helped the girls by putting four slips in the envelope with instructions to have them filled out.   She is probably in trouble now, like the teacher who was chastised  for tutoring  our girls with her other students and made to send our girls away.

We all had such high hopes for this school.   Something is terribly wrong there.  Many days only 2-3 of their teachers come.  The girls each keep a diary book to show me each day of what classes they had, subjects covered, and homework.  Many days they write for one or two subjects: teacher did not come.  It’s how they learned tense, positive and negative:  teacher came or teacher did not come.   Before exams the girls are told to stay home and study instead of coming to school.  For people here, none of this is surprising. 

It’s a struggle for the girls every day, but they are really determined.  And I’m determined to do more and more for their education  Next week I’m going to a conference of WORLDDIDAC 2011 in Delhi — immersing myself in education and technology.  There will be speakers from the Gov. of India talking about education plans.  I’m really excited, always trying to see our organization and home in the context of what is going on around us and what is possible.  There will also be talks about inclusion, so it’s nice to see issues of disability included in general education.  And then there is the Exhibition Hall where I want to look at teaching materials as well as hardware, interactive boards, touch screens.  I want the orphans to get what the “rich kids” get.  Orphans need it even more.  They have scars on top of early deprivation and abandonment.  Sometimes that produces enormous barriers to learning.  So we have to be more innovative, we have to try harder.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Arun Debnath
    Sep 24, 2011 @ 02:37:26

    What can I say, other than to say, “This is India” and we all love our country and the countryfolks ! Shame of on us Indians! India, special Kolkata is littered with educationists and intellectuals and I’m yet hear from them on the plight of the girls !! Shame, shame, shame of us all !!!


  2. elaine
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 18:23:56

    Thank goodness that the girls have you to advocate for them.



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September 2011
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