Indira Nagar slum: Education affected by alcoholism

Photo Credits- Swamy Sreedharan

By Meghna M and Krati Purwar

It was Children’s Day and the students of C.P Saivam corporation school are running about in their two storey school from classroom to classroom in joy dressed in colourful clothes to celebrate Jawarhalal Nehru’s birthday.

The school caters to the children from S.N Nagar, Indira Gandhi Nagar and Gandhinagar slum and about 35 children from LKG to fifth standard attend the school regularly.

Amudha, principal of the school said, “We make sure the students attend the classes regularly but beyond fifth standard we can’t ensure that they pursue higher studies.”

Many students get addicted to alcohol or drugs or lose interest in studies which causes dropouts after fifth grade.

Those who pursue education either go to Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) or Dhanakoti Middle School for higher studies.

Rajini, the security guard of the school, walks 10 students to their homes. Some of them wear footwear others don’t. They can’t afford it.

The school has two teachers, one trainer, one library, one computer lab, and un-cleaned bathrooms. The government ensures that free education, books, computers and uniforms with school supplies are provided.

Established in 2004, the school recently received R.O water supply for the students.

With 25 years’ experience in teaching, Amudha said that the school is short-staffed and hardly any aid is provided by the government.

The washroom is common for boys and girls. However, the children prefer to defecate out in the open than sit in an enclosed area with dripping water and stink.

Two kilometers away is the government run Dhanakoti Middle School, the principal, D.B Kanchana said that children fall short of a healthy home environment with alcoholic parents and the school can hardly help them because students hesitate to talk about it.

There are many adolescent marriages, which are very common among slum people. They get married so early that by the age of 15, they have a kid to take care of.

However, the Dhanakoti School is equipped with 23 teachers from LKG to Std 8 with smart classrooms. The government has also facilitated bus service for students to travel from the Indira Nagar as well as other slums in the district.

According to the principal, the slum students perform better than kids with educated parents because they do not have a back to fall on.