TEZPUR, March 18 – The 112 Boro medium schools in Sonitpur district are facing severe shortage of infrastructure as well as teachers due to the apathetic attitude of the Assam Government concerned department. Not only is there a severe shortage of teachers, but the schools also lack the much- needed facilities like desks and benches, buildings and an unhygienic atmosphere prevails within most of these schools. It is tragic that even in the 21st century, safe drinking water, toilet facility, well-equipped classrooms, teaching-learning materials (TLM), playing aids, library, kitchen room for the mid-day meal etc., are still a far cry in Boro medium schools, particularly at the elementary level and in some venture schools of ME & High section.
The latest development is that many schools now don’t have a single teacher as after the retirement of many teachers, new teachers have not been recruited. It may be mentioned here that many Boro-medium schools were single-teacher schools and the non-recruitment of new teachers have left the students high and dry. Office bearers of the Bahbari Anchalik Bodo Sahitya Sabha said that many of the Boro medium schools in the district have been closed down already due to the non-appointment of sufficient teachers.
“We are in an awkward situation now as in our region, three schools, namely Purani Ghatwa LP School, Swahid Ratan Kochari LP School and Garakhia Pukhuri LP School were running with a single teacher. However, though we repeatedly urged upon the DEEO and the Deputy Commissioner through a number of representation to provide more teachers to these schools, instead of fulfilling our demand, in the name of recent rationalisation of the teachers, the existing teachers of the said schools have been transferred to other schools,” they alleged. It is a violation of RTE Act -2009 which as know is equivalent to violation of human rights. They demanded that the transfer order of these teachers be stayed, otherwise organisations like the BSS and ABSU will be compelled to start a movement against the discrimination towards the Boro-medium LP schools.
On the otherhand, describing how the concerned department is apathetic towards the Boro-medium schools, one of the central office-bearers of the Bodo Sahitya Sabha said that though the State Education department tried to convert such ‘bad shaped’ schools into EGS centres or government LP schools taking 2011-12 as the base year, the infrastructure of many such Boro-medium LP schools is yet to be upgraded due to the lackadaisical attitude of a section of district-level officers.
“During 2011, the State Education department provided Rs 7.48 lakh for the infrastructure development of more than 50 LP schools under Chaidwar Education Block in Sonitpur district. But these schools had to face tough challenge in getting the government fund. We feel that such things happen only in case of the Boro-medium schools and we sense a deep conspiracy of the authorities to destroy these schools and the future of the children studying there,” he lamented.
Expressing total dissatisfaction over the discriminating attitude of the Government and the department concerned, he also alleged that citing the bogey raised by a section of anti-Boro elements, the authorities are creating obstructions in implementing the RTE Act in most of the Boro-medium LP schools in Dhekiajuli area in the district terming these schools as illegally established on forest lands. He further said that as per the “Gazette of India” (Extraordinary), the Scheduled Tribes and other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, scheduled tribes enjoy the right to hold and live in the forest land under the individual or common occupation for habitation or for self-cultivation for livelihood by a member or members of a forest dwelling scheduled tribe or other traditional forest and notwithstanding anything contained in the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Central Government shall provide for diversion of forest land for the facilities managed by the Government. The BSS leader further added that even after this right enjoyed by the tribal people provided by the Gazette of India, they often face unnecessary harassment in the name of official processes. He urged the authority to go deep into the matter before dealing with such issues so that through their acts, the dignity and rights of a particular community is not affected.