Accusing the State Education Minister of being indifferent to the ills plaguing school education, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), Assam State Committee, today said that the neglect meted out to the vital sector was borne out by reduced funding for infrastructure development, besides the department’s failure in ensuring that the students got their free uniforms and textbooks in time.
Addressing a press conference, Kashyap Choudhury and Nironkush Nath, president and general secretary respectively of the SFI, Assam State Committee, said that while the Right to Education (RTE) mandates free uniform for students up to Class VIII, the students’ rights were being violated as the government did not allocate the required fund in 2016.
“The State government has effected a 50 per cent cut in allocation of fund for school infrastructure development and management of schools. Four-room schools which earlier used to get Rs 20,000, are now getting Rs 10,000, and two-room schools are getting Rs 5,000 against the earlier amount of Rs 10,000. Moreover, the earlier practice of funding the schools for procuring teaching-learning material has come to a stop,” Choudhury said.
Choudhury added that the Education Minister’s announcement that all schools would get free textbooks by December 25, 2016 had fallen flat, with many schools across the State still awaiting the textbooks. “Similarly, the midday meal scheme is turning out to be a farce because the allotment of Rs 3.86 per student for LP schools and Rs 4.78 for ME schools is too meagre for running the programme. There are many instances of teachers spending their own money for the purpose,” he added.
The SFI has demanded that the State government take serious note of the disturbing developments concerning school education and intervene urgently and appropriately.