With Schools Shut, Limited Means, Slum Kids Prep for Board Exam 

The SSC board examination is scheduled to be held in April.

My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
Video Producer: Aastha Gulati
Camera: Areendam Dutta

The narrow gullies of Malad’s Ambujwadi in Mumbai are always busy and in motion. We have been teaching several students in the slum area since 2014. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and a paradigm shift to online learning, how these students learn or retain information has changed dramatically.

A lot of students are in Class 10 and have their board exams in less than two months. While the government of Maharashtra allowed schools to reopen for Classes 9 to 12 from 23 November 2020, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has still not allowed schools to reopen in Mumbai. While enrolled in private schools, these students are by no means on an equal footing with those who have access to resources like mobile phones or laptops, or with those from the rest of the state whose schools have already reopened.


Students from low-income families do not have the luxury to learn online. Many of them are having to share a mobile phone with their siblings. Lack of resources is an impediment to their growth. The closure of schools (almost a year since) has exposed the digital divide in the country and the challenges to virtual learning, as 27 percent of school children do not have smartphones/laptops to access online classes. Access to internet is another issue as mobile data packs exhaust quickly.

“In my family, four siblings study using the same phone, which requires a lot of data and battery. Because of this, two phones were damaged during the lockdown... it cost us a lot of money.”
Hritik, Class 10 student

Students in and outside Mumbai, whose schools have reopened, will be appearing for the same exams – Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSC) – conducted by the Maharashtra Board, starting 29 April. This exam decides their junior college.

“This is unfair because both groups (students in and outside of Mumbai) will appear for the same exam and they will score more than us, as their schools have reopened and they have access to all facilities.”
Anas, Class 10 student

Ambujwadi’s young minds feel they will not be able to perform well in the examinations and hope they are postponed so that they can perform better.

“As several concepts were taught online, I am not sure if I will be able to attempt those correctly in the exam. I feel this is an inequality, as schools of all other districts have opened while our classes continue to be held online, and both kinds of students will appear for the SSC Board together.”
Sacin J, Class 10 student

Most also say that classroom learning helps better in retaining what is being taught.

“Learning is better in person. There is eye contact, doubts can be addressed immediately. Friends are also around to help. There is no one around in an online setup.”
Ayan Mansuri, Class 10 student

(All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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