* Ranjanben Solanki, a 45-year-old ASHA worker from Dholka in Ahmedabad district, managed to complete her secondary education along with her son this year after a hiatus of 27 years.
* Savitaben Thakor, a 44-year-old anganwadi worker from Sukpurda village of Mehsana district, did so after a gap of 25 years.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Ranjanben and Savitaben along with 364 other women, who had dropped out of their schools years ago, have proved it this time by clearing their Class X examinations under The National Institute of Open Schooling, some along with their teenaged children. The results were announced on Friday. Ranjanben, a resident of from Begwa village in Dholka taluka sat for the Class X open examinations with her son Ramesh (17) and both scored 55 and 62 per cent respectively. The mother-son duo used to prepare for their exams during night as Ramesh worked at a pharmaceutical factory in Bavla during the day. “He would take out time and help me in maths and science. My husband, who is a farmer, also supported me a lot,” says Ranjanaben who decided to resume her education after realising that it was necessary for her career.
“Since I did not have a basic Class X education, I was facing a lot of problems in my job. I didn’t know the value of this certificate when I dropped out of school due to family issues but now I would suggest everyone to complete their basic education,” she added. Perhaps this realisation is the reason that her elder daughter is pursuing masters in arts as a private candidate and she has ensured that both her sons complete their education though they have taken up jobs at an early age.
“We did not take any tuition but helped each other. Initially it was tough for my mother to resume her studies after such a long gap but with her determination she overcame all the obstacles,” said an elated Ramesh. Savitaben had studied till Class VIII but could not study further due to her family’s poor economic conditions. After she resumed her studies, her family extended her full support this time. She said it was all very new for her. “I started to study afresh and am so happy that I could complete my Class X.”
These women were helped by Pratham Open School Education (POSE)-Second Chance, run by a non-government organisation in Gujarat and eight other states. As many as 410 women had appeared in Class X examinations from five centres – Kadi, Gondal, Mehsana, Dholka in Ahmedabad and Ankleshwar, our of whom 366 cleared, recording a pass percentage of 89 per cent.
A former student of POSE, Parulben Rathod (36), who had cleared her Class X examinations two years ago, took her Class XII exams this year along with her her daughter Neha (19). The anganwadi worker from Moviya village in Gondal, Rajkot district, however, could not clear her exams unlike her daughter, a regular science student. Parulben studied humanities as an external student in the same school. Unfazed, Parulben, however, said she is determined to take the exams next year and clear it.