Prabal Kr Das
GUWAHATI, May 30 – The High School Leaving Certificate Examination results, which were declared yesterday, have once again laid bare the Assam Government’s failure in promoting education among the tea garden workers, whose toil helps bring in sizeable revenue for the state.
Like previous years, this time too students belonging to the community are among the worst performers in the HSLC examination, thanks to lack of infrastructure and trained manpower in most tea estates of Assam. Only 25.60 per cent of Institutional Private and Non Institutional candidates who took the important examination came out successful. The severity of the issue can be gauged when the figure is compared to the overall pass percentage this year, which stood at 63.21 per cent.
Among the regular candidates, the performance was only slightly better. Just 38.07 per cent passed this year. This year the total number of regular candidates who took the test was 4494, made up of 2380 males and 2114 females. Among those only 1,711 candidates, 955 males and 756
females, were able to pass.
When contacted, Ganesh Chandra Kurmi, the president of the Assam Chah Janagosthi Sahitya Sabha expressing concern over the performance of students said that lack of awareness and poor economic status were the main reasons for the dismal situation. “In their current economic condition, tea garden students would find it extremely difficult to study and perform well,” he remarked.
Kurmi emphasized that awareness about the need for education must spread in the tea gardens, so that both students and guardians could demand and acquire the opportunities which have been denied to them for so long. He admitted that there was a lack of much-needed infrastructure for the students, which inhibited their efforts to a great extent.
He added that the Government should come up with a special package for tea garden students, which would address their present needs in a comprehensive manner.
Sources in the education sector affirmed that among the successful candidates, there were very few who could score high marks. Those who managed to do well did so only because of their sheer grit and determination, it was mentioned.
The Assam Tea Tribes Students Assocaiation (ATTSA) which has in the recent past campaigning for better educational opportunities for the tea garden workers, has taken note of the situation and is likely to intensify its demands, which it believes have been sidelined by the authorities concerned.
Pallab Lochan Das of the association said that the performance of students from tea gardens in the HSLC reflected the utter inadequacy of education in a sector that brings substantial earnings for both estate management and the Government. “Right now there is no educational atmosphere in the tea gardens of Assam…how many ME and high schools exist in the estates?” he stated.
Das and others who are acquainted with the scenario believe that the Government, and the education department should have a genuine intention to bring in major intervention, one of which could be to open schools beyond primary level in the tea gardens. “Leaving things to estate management has not shown results,” said an education department official.