Adapted from bbc.co.uk
« At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world. He's a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family's backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village. Babar Ali's day starts early. He wakes, pitches in with the household chores, then jumps on an auto-rickshaw to the Raj Govinda school. The school is the best in this part of West Bengal. There are hundreds of students, boys and girls. The classrooms are neat, if bare. But there are desks, chairs, a blackboard, and the teachers are all dedicated and well-qualified. Babar Ali is the first member of his family ever to get a proper education. "It's not easy for me to come to school because I live so far away," he says, "but the teachers are good and I love learning. And my parents believe I must get the best education I can get." Raj Govinda school is government-run so it is free, all Babar Ali has to pay for is his uniform and his books. But still that means his family has to find around 1,800 rupees a year ($40, £25) to send him to school. In this part of West Bengal that is a lot of money. Many poor families can't afford to send their children to school, even when it's free. Chumki Hajra has never been to school. She is 14 years old and lives in a tiny hut with her grandmother. Their home is simple. Inside there is just room for a bed and a few possessions. Every morning, instead of going to school, she cleans the homes of neighbours. "My father is handicapped and can't work," Chumki tells me. "We need the money. If I don't work, we can't survive as a family. So I have no choice but to do this job." But Chumki is now getting an education, thanks to Babar Ali. At four o'clock every afternoon after Babar Ali gets back to his family home a bell summons children to his house. They flood into the yard behind his house, where Babar Ali now acts as headmaster of his own school. Standing on a podium, he tells them about discipline, then the study begins. Babar Ali gives lessons the way he has heard them from his teachers. He was just nine when he began teaching a few friends as a game. Now his afternoon school has 800 students, all from poor families and there are 10 teachers at the school, all, like him, students at school or college, who give their time voluntarily. Babar Ali does not charge for anything, even books and food are given for free, funded by donations. The school has been recognized by the local authorities. It has helped increase the literacy rate in the area and Babar Ali has won awards for his work. »
Adapted from bbc.co.uk. October 12, 2009
Write down the correct answer. The text is an extract from:
a) a travel guide.
b) a press article.
c) a personal diary.
Choose and write down Babar Ali's 4 daily activities.
a) He helps with the tasks at home.
b) He repairs rickshaws.
c) He goes to school.
d) He collects money.
e) He goes back home.
f) He plays with his friends.
g) He sells food on the street.
h) He shares his knowledge.
Chumki Hajra is Babar Ali's:
Choose one title for this text.
a) Helping the Handicapped in India.
b) Helping the Poor in India.
c) Helping the Elderly in India.
The following statements are right. Justify by quoting the text.
a) Babar Ali has an unusual occupation for his age.
b) Babar Ali's own education is not totally free.
c) Not everybody can go to school in West Bengal.
d) Babar Ali makes sure the children are well-behaved.
e) Babar Ali follows his teachers' example.
f) Babar Ali gets financial help to support his initiative.
Say whether these statements are right or wrong and justify by quoting the text.
a) Babar Ali doesn't stay in bed late in the morning.
b) Babar Ali started his activity when he was 16.
c) Other teenagers help Babar Ali in his initiative.
d) Babar Ali is making a profit thanks to his initiative.
e) More and more people have learnt to read and write thanks to this initiative.
3. Pick out two phrases in the text showing that Babar Ali's initiative has received attention from officials.
Find equivalents in the text for the following words and expressions:
a) very small.
b) make people pay.
ExpressionChoose one of the following subjects. (150 words)
1. Babar Ali writes a letter to the Prime Minister of India to ask for help and support in his initiative. Imagine this letter.
2. In your opinion, is school education the only key to success? Justify with examples.
1. The text is an extract from: a) a press article.
2. Babar Ali's 4 daily activities are: a) he helps with the tasks at home, c) he goes to school, e) he goes back home and h) he shares his knowledge.
3. Chumki Hajra is Babar Ali's: b) pupil.
4. One title for this text: b) Helping the Poor in India.
a) "At 16 years old, Babar Ali must be the youngest headmaster in the world" or "He's a teenager who is in charge of teaching hundreds of students in his family's backyard, where he runs classes for poor children from his village."
b) "[…] all Babar Ali has to pay for is his uniform and his books" or "But still that means his family has to find around 1,800 rupees a year ($40, £25) to send him to school."
c) "Many poor families can't afford to send their children to school, even when it's free."
d) "[…] he tells them about discipline […]."
e) "Babar Ali gives lessons the way he has heard them from his teachers."
f) "[…] even books and food are given for free, funded by donations."
a) Right: "Babar Ali's day starts early."
b) Wrong: "He was just nine when he began teaching a few friends as a game."
c) Right: "[…] there are 10 teachers at the school, all, like him, students at school or college, who give their time voluntarily."
d) Wrong: "Babar Ali does not charge for anything […]."
e) Right: "It has helped increase the literacy rate in the area […]."
3. "The school has been recognized by the local authorities" and "[…] Babar Ali has won awards for his work."
a) Very small: tiny.
b) Make people pay: charge.
c) Financed: funded.
d) Raise: increase.
1. Dear Mr Prime Minister, I am writing to you on behalf of my village located in West Bengal. As you know, in this region, many families cannot afford to send their children to school because they don't have the money to pay for uniforms and books. As a result, together with other students, I have decided to set up a school in my family yard and we teach children what we learn at school. We are very pleased with our initiative because the literacy rate in the area has risen.Thanks to a few generous donors, we have managed to buy a few books. However, because we now have 800 students attending our afternoon school, we need money so as to provide them with school books as our school is entirely free. We would therefore be grateful for your financial support which could change the lives of many children. I look forward to receiving your answer. Yours faithfully, Babar Ali.
2. In my opinion, school education is not the only key to success. If you have completed your studies and if you have qualifications, it is indeed much easier to find a job and to make money than if you haven't. Even though school education doesn't guarantee you a job, it certainly helps and most successful businessmen have been to top business schools. However, there are other ways of succeeding. If you are a gifted musician or a talented sportsman you may become successful in your field. Furthermore, there are many examples of men and women who have a very successful career despite having had very poor school results. Many entrepreneurs never went to university and dropped out of school at a young age but because of their entrepreneur spirit have managed to set up their own companies and have become very successful. In conclusion, I would say that school education is a key to success, especially if you want to become a doctor or a lawyer, but it is definitely not the only one.