Pune: Waste Pickers’ Children Shine in SSC 2020 Exams

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Pune, 29 July 2020: The much-anticipated SSC 2020 results have finally come in. The Maharashtra Board announced its SSC results for the year 2020 at 13:00 hrs today.

As always, many children of waste pickers associated with Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat have cleared the exams with flying colours. Many of the children who cleared the exams are first- generation learners and have come through on the basis of sheer grit and determination. KKPKP is a trade union of waste collectors working in Pune and PCMC with a membership base of 10,000 waste collectors.

Mahesh Fulchand Magar is the first child in his family to reach Class X and he has done a fine job indeed of passing the board exams. A hardworking and committed student, Mahesh has scored a laudable 85%.  Mahesh’s father, Fulchand Yedba Magar, a waste collector who works at Hingne Khurd, got the news at work and he couldn’t have been more elated.  A shy Mahesh couldn’t be happier as he says with pride,”I studied on my own, my family couldn’t afford tuition classes and there was nobody else to help. The vasti noises can be disturbing sometimes, but I did not let them bother me. My father would wake me early in the morning, right before he left for work and that is when I studied the best.” A student of Advocate D.R Nagarkar Prashala, Karve Nagar, Mahesh wants to opt for science and dreams of becoming a doctor in future.

Payal Datta Kasbe is a lively teenager who is beside herself with happiness as she talks about the enviable 84%, she has scored in her class X exams. She says, “I am very happy with my percentage but also slightly upset that I lost marks in Social Science.” When asked what her favourite subjects are, pat comes the reply, “Science and Maths!” An avid essay writer, Payal dreams of taking up medicine in future. “I want to use my talents and hard work to help people,” says a beaming Payal.

This year 95 children of waste pickers appeared for the Xth board exams, of these 89 children have cleared the exam. 7 have cleared the exam with over 80% marks, while 16 have passed with 70% and above.  Many of the parents of these students are waste pickers organised under the SWaCH cooperative and the stability in their family income and mother’s interaction with an educated class of people has made this possible. Many service users encourage and appreciate the effort of these children and the efforts that their parents make in ensuring they stay in school and complete their formal education.

Having been delayed because of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, the impending results had created more than usual anxiety among students and parents alike and the announcement of the results today has finally helped everyone breathe a sigh of relief.

With the mode of teaching shifting to online classes and e-learning in the coming year, many waste pickers’ children will need tabs and laptops to continue their education. KKPKP has appealed on their behalf to donate tabs/laptops that are out of use but in good condition, as well as funds towards procuring these.