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DAY9:BACK TO SCHOOL | St Joan of Arc - Udayan


19 February 2019

With some of us back into the full Udayan routine, the day began with morning prayer and wake up exercise on the courts. Later on we joined the penultimate exam candidates on the way to three centres for their physical science exam. The boys we accompanied will be leaving Udayan this weekend. Tomorrow is their last exam and then they head back to their homes on Sunday. Some of these boys have been here since they were three years old and now leave at 16 or 18. Apart from the three, two-week holidays they have each year, it must still be a bittersweet return home to ‘normal life’. Many will become the main source of income for their families. One boy admitted that he will be very sad to leave and is already looking forward to getting back together on results day

Following this we visited a local girls’ school that doubled up as a Tardis – we were shocked by the sheer number of students in such a small facility with five to a bench, 75 in a room, and 1,800 students overall with just 30 full-time teachers teaching seven subjects: Bengali, English, Maths, Life Science, Physical Science, Geography and History. Passing by classes, some even without teachers supervising, the focus, calm and dedication to learning was admirable. Both Miss St. Ledger and the Sixth form Executive were amazed at the level of respect they showed to both staff and senior pupils. The classrooms consist of chalk and blackboards with a few textbooks pens and paper, a contrast to the luxury of power-point, projection, photocopying, and interactive whiteboards.

The 18 pupils about to pass out of Class X after their exams. The boys will be returning home to attend local colleges or to find work. The girls are able to stay at Udayan. Approximately 57 new children will be joining in May.

On return, a dance rehearsal for our last night ‘programme’ took place in the newly named (by us) “Brother Bachchan’s Academy for Creative Movement”. The routine was quickly picked up and the group can’t wait to perform tomorrow on our last night. However ‘Aankah Marey’ is now stuck in our heads thanks to Liam and his constant singing…

The group decided to end the day with a mixture of sports including badminton, football and Duck-Duck-Goose (Taught by Olivia). We are making the most of our last days with the children before we leave. We are already planning our trips back, life at Udayan is too good to never see again!

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