03 December, 2020

The Campus Walls Aren’t High Enough

For the urban poor and in the hinterland, ­education is a mutiny of aspirations straining at many leashes

Big Dreams
(Rrom Right) Pugauhenthi and Povaradan with their parents
The Campus Walls Aren’t High Enough

Before the sun dawns on ­Delhi, Ved Prakash’s day is half over. A newspaper delivery man in Saket, his mind is full of worry about his daughter Shweta, who wants to join a postgraduate institution for engineering.

Prakash’s thoughts take him four years back—when Shweta had just cleared the JEE with flying colours. He remembers how proud he was that she hadn’t been to the now-almost-mandatory coaching classes. And then the anxiety returns—the familiar one that had hit him when he heard of the Rs 4 lakh annual fee. After everything he had done till then, would his economic status still thwart his daughter’s plans? The very thought was painful.

Coming home from his rounds that day, Prakash had stepped out immediately, heading straight to the bank. He thought the bank would readily agree to grant an education loan, seeing his daughter’s school record and JEE scores. But the bank wanted collateral, not marks. The next day he unlocked the only fixed deposit in his name, besides tapping into the insurance schemes he had been...



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