(Chandan Kumar reports on the latest phase of the Sadak Par School movement.)
Hundreds of students, youth, and their guardians held the 8th phase of the right to school education campaign – Sadak Par School – in Sewtha, Nadhi and Baruna on the issues of sufficient number of teachers, textbooks, 7 hours’ teaching, homework, toilets, schools for the poor, dalits, farmers’ and workers’ children.
The ‘Sadak par School’ started with prayer and went on to class-based teaching. A music programme was presented by a team enthusiastically put together by Khushbu, Pinky, and Chandni who presented Balli Singh Cheema’s ‘Le Mashale Chal Pade Hain’. Raju Ranjan’s team presented people’s songs. The school students took an oath on Ambedkar, Bhagat Singh and Savitri Bai Phule’s memory to fight for and secure quality education and fulfill their dreams for the future.
A single government Primary school was passed in 2010 in the poor-dalit mohalla. For 3 years this school was run in the public library. The poor people of the area gave land for the school but the government took no steps to build the school and merged it in another school situated in the mohalla of dominant sections and more than 1 km from the dalit mohalla.
64 students are enrolled in the Primary School at Baruna, Musahartoli. There are 3 teachers who come occasionally in a month. There is only one classroom and that is also dilapidated. The Head Master said that the no action has been taken despite several complaint letters to the BDO and BEO. Class IV and Class V are held in the dilapidated classroom and the younger classes sit in the verandah. 22 out of 28 children of Classes III, IV, and V could not solve simple arithmetical sums. 90% students of Classes IV and V are not capable of reading Hindi and 99% are not capable of reading English. The half-yearly exams were held without textbooks, which have not yet been provided by the Nitish government.
The villages covered by the Sadak Par School movement have a history of struggle against feudal domination. They had earlier fought to secure their political rights and right to vote, but the feudal forces have found a new way to suppress them: by keeping them out of the right education and other democratic rights. The AISA-RYA Sadak par School campaign finds a way to come out of this oppression by holding schools and classes on the roads. This campaign has received enthusiastic support from various sections of society including women and girls in large numbers.
In Nadhi where CPI(ML) have had sharp confrontations with the Ranveer Sena, Muslim women came out in large numbers in support of the campaign. Remarkably, girls from feudal families also started out in support of this campaign! Only after the feudal-supported Mukhiya stopped them did they return to their homes.
Addressing the Sadak Par School RYA State President Manoj Manzil and and AISA State Secretary Shivprakash Ranjan said that the governments want to keep the poor, dalits, farmers, weaker sections deprived of education in order to deprive them of their political and social claims. They condemned the arrest of AISA President Mukhtar and other students who were demanding that Patna University should be made a Central University.
The 7-hour long session of school on the roads and the lengthening line of cars on the road made the administration bow down. The BEO and the Zonal Officer came to the spot for talks and were forced to agree to the demand that they should immediately inspect the land for the school at Sewtha, after which the school on the road closed for the day.