For teenagers, school gates are the doors of dreams, hopes and aspiration. However, there are particular unpleasant situations where going to school becomes perplexing.
One evening a girl visited my house in Tripura and greeted me with a pleasant smile. She was a pleasure to talk as she proudly told me about her achievements, such as a dance performance on stage. Just after ten minutes, her mother entered into the room and instructed her daughter to talk about the problematic situation she was facing.
Within a moment, chirping voice melted into choking words engulfed in deep pain and humiliation. “I don’t want to study “she bluntly announced. “You don’t want to consider education, I understand but can you help me to understand what’s going with you “I requested.
With an apologetic tone, she revealed- “I haven’t been to school for last nine months, as I failed twice during my pre-board examination of 10th standard and restricted to appear in tenth class examinations. Although, I tried hard during my previous attempt, but couldn’t go through. Moreover, teachers talk to me badly and studying in a young age group cohort is shameful for me “.
Then regaining her calm, she announced- “But I will not be a housemaid like my mom and many women in my community, I want to do something which can give me respect “. With whisper – “My community people asking mom to get me married like my elder sister, but I strictly say no to such mindless proposal. I don’t want an alcoholic husband and troubles like mum faced throughout her life. ”
I looked at the girl’s confidence with utter disbelief. Perhaps, it’s not she should be ashamed of for not passing 10th standard. It’s a gap area of our society, which fails to offer a solution if a child is unable to pursue 10th -what options we provide them?
In rushing to sketch an academically poor student, we often forget to highlight the backdrop of a child, including social determinants and linking the challenging situation of children of addicts.
Her father was a labourer who unfortunately became an alcohol addict at a young age and suffered numerous health issues such as pancreatitis and memory loss conditions. Such challenges put an extra burden on this child’s shoulder to look after the family and doing household chores while her mother is away with her work as a housemaid.
Although, I promised her to help her to overcome the situation. However, deep inside, I am aware that solutions are not going to be easy for her and society. Hope I can get some useful suggestions from readers to navigate this complex interplay of social determinants.