An excerpt from ‘Grey Sunshine’, an account of teacher Sandeep Rai’s experiences as part of the Teach for India programme.
Right in the middle of Jahangirpuri is the government-run Industrial Training Institute (ITI), a vocational centre
that offers livelihood skill development courses for youths and adults alike. Established in 1985, it operates with a mandate to give “technical training to the backward and weaker sections of the society”. Yet, nowhere in Jahangirpuri will residents find access to colleges or any other source of higher education. There are two government-run primary and secondary schools, but nothing beyond the twelfth standard. When I asked a local public official his thoughts on this, his reply was telling: “Let’s be realistic about what’s possible with this community, shall we?” The school, which Yasmin and more than half of Jahangirpuri’s children attend, has an ominous feel that envelops the entire building. A big, rusted metal gate greets you at the entrance. Past the gate is an open, barren field surrounded by concrete multistorey buildings on every side. As I walk past the field and into one of the buildings, I immediately hear a shrill scream in the distance, to my right. A tall, slender man in his early thirties is standing in a corner of the corridor. Dressed in a neatly-pressed, beige button-down shirt, he wields a belt in his.. Read more