No accountability


Inequalities in educational institutions run by the governments at the centre or the states can never be starker in light of the Swach Bharat campaign launched by no less a person than the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. Majority of the schools either do not have toilet facilities or they are totally non-existent in the hinterland and rural and far flung areas of the country. Even the schools buildings are non-existent in the rural areas not to speak of providing toilets for the school children in both urban and far flung areas. Majority of the schools run by single teachers up to primary level education are operating from as many rooms. In rural areas, where the single rooms have been constructed for the purpose of providing education to children, even they have either collapsed or given way due to vagaries of nature. The repairs on the collapsed schools buildings have not been carried out in many cases as a result of which schools classes are conducted under shades of trees in the warmer areas and in open air under the sun in hilly and cold regions of the country. What about the schools where there are no children for studies because of the location of the schools and children cannot make it on their own. This situation is typical in rural and far flung hilly areas where the idea of having a school within the village or less than two kilometers has not been implemented by the state governments. On the other hand, there are public schools in major cities of the country wherein the children enjoy the air-conditioned climes at a cost while children from slums and semi-rural areas do not have the facility of a school. This inequality and discrimination between the children of the same urban centre cannot more visible than these facilities. Unfortunately, the dropout rate among the children in urban areas is higher than those in the rural areas due to lack of schools. Moreover, the culture of encouraging only public schools by the governments is only adding and widening the gap between the children of rich and the poor. In the case of our State, the number of primary schools operating for depilated building can be compared to the failure of the government on all other fronts. The recent notification issued by the State Directorate of School Education asking all principals / headmasters of GHSS & GHS not having sufficient number of functional toilets and drinking water facilities in the schools to collect the Baseline Survey Format and Guidelines is a case in point. For GMS and GPS the SDEOs have been asked to collect the format for the same. Indeed when even the schools buildings are non-existent, the question of the school having toilets and drinking facilities does not arise. It is a sad state of affairs that many schools run by the government is in dire straits with absence of teachers and ultimately children deserting schools due to lack of infra-structure. The single-room single teacher schools have become the biggest casualty of the entire discriminatory policies of the government. Still more than 90 percent of children in rural areas are educated by state-run schools because there has not been much expansion of the private and public schools in our rural areas where majority of the population barely make both ends meet. The constitutional amendment in India to grant every child ‘right to education’ is still a dream. Enactment of new laws does not make any difference unless there is will to implement the provisions of the constitution that provide for free education. The entire infra-structure at the grass-root level and primary education is crying for corrections by the government by providing teachers and rooms for the children. The whole point is that provision of providing toilets in the schools is a good idea if there are enough infrastructures to teach children and provide them at least teachers. In fact the accountability of the entire administrative setup remains a dream for the people and education sector is no exception. Unless realistic policies are framed and implemented, the right to education will also remain a mirage for the people of this vast and diverse country.