It is an uncertain future for the children of families evicted from Ejipura as several of them have either missed their ongoing school examinations or won’t be able to write them because of non-payment of fees.
Reema, 12, a student of Class VII at a school near Richmond Circle, could not appear for her annual examinations on March 18. “My mother was a domestic worker. But she hasn’t been to work for nearly one year. However, she managed to pay my fees some way or the other. But, after we were evicted, my fees has not been paid for a few months now,” said Reema.
“My daughter is very good in her studies and one of the brightest in her class,” said Begum Taj as she spoke about her daughter, Sultana, studying in Class VII at a government school in Koramangala. This bright student has been forced to stay away from school as her parents have not been able to pay the fees.
Taj used to work as a domestic help at a college canteen and earned Rs 5,000 a month. However, when the evictions began two months ago, she was not able to attend work, as a result of which she was thrown out of her job. She has thus lost her only source of income.
As many as 25 families from Ejipura voiced serious concerns about the education of their children.
While many have been jobless since the evictions, what has made the situation worse is that they have not been able to move out and search new jobs. For, they fear that whatever little belongings they have might be stolen in their absence.
“I have been out of work since the eviction. But, I can’t leave my belongings unguarded as there is every chance of someone stealing them by the time I return,” said Palaniamma, a domestic worker who is jobless for the past two months.
Her daughter Chitra studies in the same school as Reema and she too could not take her examinations for not paying the fees.
Mary Nandini is a worried mother as she has to arrange for Rs 9,000 for her eight-year-old daughter’s school admission. “Admissions will start in April. I have already borrowed Rs 2,000 to pay the fees. I don’t know from where I should get the remaining Rs 7,000,” she said. Her husband used to work as a painter until the family was evicted.
None of the children from the affected families has been enrolled under the provisions of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education as several of them lack awareness about it.
Dileep, a parent said, “I have never heard about such a provision.”