Niranjan Giri, a 34-year-old night school teacher, says that his only priority for almost ten years now has been to make night schools established. He travels to all parts of Mumbai trying to convince those who are unable to attend school during the day to opt for classes in night schools. Giri says that, for him, night school is a choice and not a chance. While many teachers work full-time at daytime schools and teach in the night schools as part-time teachers, Giri has chosen to work only for the night-time classes and uses the hours during the day to endorse night schools.
Accomplishing the Promotion of Night Schools
Giri’s working hours start at 6 o’clock in the evening every day, yet he has chosen to work around the clock, encouraging those who’ve never attended schools and drop-outs to opt for night-time education, although his salary is less than half of that of a day-school teacher. He says that the urge is missing from the authorities. He stated that, since 2013, close to 20 night-time schools have closed shop in Mumbai. He is disappointed that the govt has closed these schools down instead of upgrading them.
Of the 182 night schools in the state of Maharashtra, 139 are in the city of Mumbai. Living in Badlapur, Giri travels to Mumbai Central’s Modern Night School every evening. The travel time for Giri is a little more than five hours from his house to and from the school.
School finishes at 9:30 pm, after which Giri stays to guide those students who stay back. Although he gets back home quite late at night, Giri’s day starts early at 6:30 am. He leaves home by 10 o’clock in the morning to meet new people, urging them to finish their education by joining night schools.
Whom He Encourages
Included on his roll call are the children of migrant workers who come from across the country, who attend night school as they survive living in the city’s slums and tenement blocks that are falling apart. Giri says that the students of night schools generally come from poor backgrounds and that they attend the night classes after a day of hard work. He says that, firstly, the grant for night schools is not sufficient to encourage the children and, secondly, the organisations that run these schools pay rent to the BMC.
Giri observed that night schools are necessary for those students from underprivileged backgrounds who financially support their families by working during the day-time. They attend night classes to feed their own dreams for the future. There are many who believe that, once they drop out, continuing education is impossible. Giri’s mission is to introduce them to night schools. He says that it’s a teacher’s duty to guide students, after all.
Besides promoting night schools, Giri has also been a one-man army against the state govt, calling for improved infrastructure and facilities and better salaries and other benefits for night-school teachers. He does this hoping for more teachers to join night schools.