With the yellow report card tucked carefully inside a sheet of white paper, Shivam, a class XI student of the Senior Secondary Boys School in Nangloi, walks out of the classroom with his mother Sadhana Kumari. A housewife, Sadhana had set aside all her household chores for the day to meet Shivam’s class teacher on the mega parent-teacher meet (PTM) and with a lacklustre performance, she now has to convey the bad news to her husband, a daily wage labourer.
At Ishani Government Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Saket, Dharmendra Singh took time off from his job of driving an auto-rickshaw to attend the PTM of his two daughters. “For every hour that I am losing out on work, it means losing a lot of money, but I think these things are important. At least, we get to know how our children are performing and in which areas they are lagging. The teachers told us today about the subjects that need to be worked on and we will try and do whatever we can from our end,” said Singh.
Daily wage labourers, tailors, auto-rickshaw drivers, bus drivers, domestic helps, storekeepers, electricians — all of them parents who dream of a better life for their children — queued up in the corridors of government schools to attend the second PTM. “I got a text message from the school inviting me for the mega PTM… and then the minister’s appeal on FM channels played out repeatedly for days. That made me really curious. Yeh ‘mega PTM’ hai kya cheez? (What exactly is this mega PTM) I am glad I came. For the first time, my son’s teacher directly handed over the report card… I do not want him to become a labourer like me… I want him to be an educated professional,” said Vishnu, a daily wage labourer and father of a Class VIII student in Nangloi.
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Some parents sneaked time out from their break at work to attend the meet. Omkar Gupta, a shopkeeper at Trilokpuri, sprinted to his son Harsh’s school, Government Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, during his lunch break. “We usually close the shop in the afternoon… that’s when I went,” he explained.
(With inputs from Kaunain Sheriff M)