Last week’s February vacation was a time of rest and relaxation for many of us, and we lamented the prospect of returning to the pain and drudgery of Pilgrim High School. While you all struggled to get out of bed to make that 7:24 bell, people your age in India were busy descending 70 feet into the earth on a wobbly staircase of bamboo towards a black hole about two feet wide through which they crawled over 100 yards in order to start their day of work.
Their job is not to pass a geometry test or write a research paper, it was to mine coal. Despite a 2010 law mandating all Indian children between the ages of 6 and 14 be in school, millions are instead working long hours in dangerous conditions for very little pay.
Some of these child-workers prefer this life to the alternative of tests and study, but most relish the idea of sitting in a class discussing philosophy, mathematics, or advanced sciences. The reality is that people die all the time in the mines, and very few take so much as a notice to this reality.
This region of India known as Meghalaya lies in the Northeast portion of the country and is proof that laws are only as good as their enforcement. You can be grateful that people in your world enforce the laws requiring children to attend school.