Global Education Monitoring Report

First generation graduate

Monika Sharma

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Monika Sharma from India

I was one of three children born to a lower middle class family in India. My father graduated but was jobless. He tried to start a business many times but failed. My mother got married when she was in 10th standard so dropped out of school. The only source of income in my family was my grandfather, who had a job.

I have an M.A.(English), B.ed, and am persuing a Masters of social welfare.

The major challenge in getting educated was a lack of finance and the orthodox society. My grandfather wanted me to get married when in 8th standard, but my father kept protecting me and my mother saved money as much as she could. Whenever her parents offered her gifts, she demanded money instead so that she could spend that money on our education. Later on, I started earning on my own by giving tuition. When I was doing my Masters, I also gave tuition. It was very surprising to others. When I was doing my Diploma in education in another city, my sister continued my tuition classes and arranged money for my studies.

Now I am a government teacher in primary section and a unionist also. I am at the post of state chairperson of the network of women in my union. All is achieved with the joint efforts of me and my family. I am grateful to my parents and my sister.

Education always leads to a better life. So it did the same for me too. It changed my logical thinking, my perspective on life, my attitude, my personality and my lifestyle. Now I have a respectable job and position in society. I need not to struggle like my mother did throughout her life. Now I am independent just thanks to my education.

I have arranged for quality education for my kids. I teach them myself every day. I have not big dreams for them, I just want them to be good human beings who can feel the pain of others. I am not going to force them to be a doctor or some other prestigious job. I have asked them to work hard to achieve what they want and what they can do best.