August 28, 2021 12:36:07 am
Pravina Ahir, 28, of Varachha had to quit studies in 2006 after completing Class 8 from a government school at her native place in Rajula taluka of Amreli district as her family was struggling to meet both ends meet. Pravina started working with her mother Vimlaben by stitching lace patti work on saree. Her family –comprising her parents and a younger sister — migrated to Surat where father, Shyamjibhai, started working as a diamond polisher.
Fifteen years later, Pravina is one of the 32 persons, who had dropped out as girl students, passed the Class 10 and Class 12 Board exams held this year.
Behind their victory is Naresh Mehta, principal of a Surat Municipal Corporation-run Suman school in Katargam, who provided free coaching to these students.
This year, the state government had decided to give mass promotion to regular students in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, while Board exams were conducted for repeaters and external students for classes 10t and 12 between July 15 and July 27.
Pravina, who cleared the Class 12 Board exams in Arts stream with 70 per cent marks hopes to become a teacher.
Speaking to the Indian Express, Pravina Ahir said, “Our initial days in Surat city were tough. Me and my mother were stitching lace patti work on sarees throughout the day. We get Rs 4 for the saree work and we used to finish 200 sarees in a day. My father earned around 7,000 per month during the initial days and we have to pay the house rent and take care of other expenses. Through hard-earned money, we paid our bills, and even got my younger sister Shilpa study further. Now she has completed her B. Com.”
She added, “Two years ago, Naresh sir came to our residential society and inquired about the school dropout girl students and explained to us the importance of education. I also attended the interactive meeting with other girls of our area in a house and finally, I decided to study further as I was tired of doing stitching work.”
The 32 students had cleared the board exams as external and repeater students in Gujarati medium, and they were taught by Mehta sir at their homes.
A total of 24 dropout girl students had filled forms for Class 12 Board exams in Arts stream, as external students, out of which 19 passed the exam.
Similarly in Class 10, among 21 students, 10 passed as external students, while three out of seven repeater students also cleared the boards.
All of them had quit studies to help their families by doing odd jobs.
Naresh Mehta told The Indian Express, “In my teaching profession, I have come across many girl students who left studies after class 8 and helped their parents financially. Six years ago, I found a girl student who had topped in the municipal school, had left studies after class 8, due to financial problems. I talked to her parents and convinced them to let her study further, as an external student, and also gave her free coaching and books, and at present, she is working as Talati in the government.”
“Generally, there is still a tendency that parents to not let their daughters study more and give more importance to sons when it comes to education. I took up this challenge and started an initiative to identify the girl students and get them educated as external students,” he added.
In the last six year, Naresh has managed to help 65 girl students pass Class 10 boards and 185 girl students cleared Class 12 Boards.
Devika Paradva, 26, also cleared this year’s Class 10 Board exams with 82 per cent mark as an external student.
She had quit studies in 2010 to help her parents by doing decoration works on sarees after her father left diamond cutting work due to his poor eyesight. A resident of Punagam area in Surat, Paradva said, “Mehta Sir explained to me about the benefits of education. Now I will also give Class 12 Board exams and do my graduation as well. My dream is to get a government job.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.