The beginning of the school year in January is a busy time for Mr Naskar and the staff of the New Life centre, not only for welcoming new students, but in sorting out the books for distribution. The staff are in the school before the beginning of term for this purpose.
Schools in India have to have their name printed on the front of the exercise book, which means that the books cost more but also limits ‘shopping around’ for cheaper books.
For a school which exists to serve the poorest children in this village, book buying at the beginning of each year is only one of the ways in which Mr Naskar has to balance the budget. The parents of the majority of these children live at a subsistence level, doing daily labouring jobs in the fisheries which are predominant in this area of West Bengal, or in the paddy fields.
Mr Naskar is scrupulous in following the National Curriculum, which means that the children study between 10 – 12 subjects depending on their age. Each subject has an exercise book and sometimes a text book which can be used as an exercise book for the student. We can see therefore the high cost of books for the school each year, when the majority of parents are paying a minimal amount, for schooling, the equivalent of £1.60 a month.
What a contrast to our schools where the exercise books are handed out without any thought of where the money has come from for them?
Wouldn’t you like to help Mr Naskar educate the first generation of highly literate adults in this village?
New exercise books!
Sorting new books in time for school to start