Seven years ago, Ransai Basumatary’s parents were worried for his education and future. Since he was a kid, Ransai has been interested in studies, but due to lack of proper schools in his village No. 4 Sonapur, Kuklung, Chirang, he was slowly losing interest and focus in his studies. No. 4 Sonapur village is a forest village located on Indo-Bhutan border and in the entire locality there was only one venture school (nonprovincialised) school attended by the children of that village. The venture school was also fighting for its own survival as it lacked infrastructure and regular paid teaching staff. Last year, this too closed down due to absence of any teaching volunteers. The parents, earning most of their income from selling vegetables and daily wage labour, could not afford to send their kids to private schools. Education is every child’s right, and in today’s highly globalized and privatized world, where would poor parents go to ensure their child’s right to education.
In 2015 when Ransai was almost on the verge of dropping out from education, he was enrolled into the ant Child Development Centre (CDC). CDCs were started in 2015 under the project Shiksha in Deosiri and Kuklung situated in the foothills of Bhutan to encourage learning beyond formal schooling through activity-based learning after school hours to create an enabling learning environment that is missing at home. The centres were started in collaboration with the village community – parents, village elders and community organisations like student bodies. the ant provides the centres with teachers, teaching materials and facilities for games, while the village community monitors the working of the centres. These extra classes at CDCs also helped Ransai in grasping certain learning concepts. “Since I joined the CDC, the classes have improved my understanding in concepts from subjects like maths and science. And when I joined Janata High School for my higher studies, the extra classes in the CDC aided in my learning. Every day after school I would go for the CDC classes where they would teach us three subjects – Maths, Science and English”. A month till his exam started, Ransai would study till late at night and his mother or father would stay awake with him. With his hard work, determination and support from CDC lessons, Ransai was able to achieve his goal of securing 1st Division in the HSLC examination. Ransai aims to be an IPS officer in future and hopes that like him many other kids from the disadvantaged families from the village would benefit from the free CDC classes and fulfill their dreams.