Source: The New York Times
NEW DELHI — Like many 6-year-olds, Pankaj Disht clams up when speaking to a stranger. But since switching to a private school, he has become more open and says he enjoys school and has many friends.
Under normal circumstances, Pankaj’s father, Madan Singh Disht, a household cook, could have only afforded to send his son to a government-run school here, where, as in the rest of India, public schools suffer from teacher absences, poor infrastructure and a lack of facilities.
But through a law upheld by the Indian Supreme Court this past spring, and the tenacity of Mr. Disht’s employer, Seema Talreja, who organized the boy’s application, Pankaj is attending a private academy, the Mother’s International School, where he receives individual attention from motivated teachers.
Mrs. Talreja, who has employed Mr. Disht for five years, wanted to help with his family’s education. She took advantage of the recent legislation, which requires Indian private schools to admit 25 percent of their student body from ages 6 to 14 from families making less than 100,000 rupees, or $1,800, a year.