‘School on the Streets’ Campaign in Bhojpur

In continuation with the ongoing campaign demanding the right to education, Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) and the All India Students’ Association (AISA) held open schools on the streets of Bhojpur in Bihar. The main demands of this movement have been provision of adequate infrastructure, adequate number of trained teachers and scholarships for students. The open schools were conducted in Pasaur and Kauakhot villages in Charphokri. Hundreds of students and their guardians participated in these schools, held near the Charphokri market on the Ara-Sasaram main road. This road was blocked for several hours, and classes were conducted. Guardians, students and youth pointed out that some of the land allotted for schools (such as for the Urdu primary school in Pasaur and a school in Kauakhot) had been illegally occupied by local feudal forces for several years. They demanded that the government reclaim this land and use it for its stated purpose. They also highlighted the lack of adequate infrastructure such as rooms, water, toilets and teachers in the existing schools – some of which had been sanctioned way back in the 1940s. The promises made by BJP-JD(U)-RJD leaders regarding the opening of schools had been repeatedly violated. Funds allotted for the schools have been sent back time and again due to the ‘lack of land’ available for the schools, and the unwillingness of governments to seize land occupied by feudal forces.

RYA state president Manoj Manzil pointed out the apathy of the ruling JD(U)-RJD government towards the issue of education. AISA’s Bhojpur district secretary Shabbir added that the government should stop promoting privatization of education, and should instead make sure that the public education system in Bihar is strengthened. Dhiraj Singh, Rahul, Roshan Siddiqui and others took the classes in the open schools. Several AISA, RYA and CPI(ML) leaders including Mohammad Maqbool, Mohan Paswan, Ranjan Kumar, Dhirendra Kumar and Maneer Alam participated in the schools.

A long queue of vehicles started blocking the traffic on the road, as a result of the open schools. Finally, the SDM, DSP and CEO of Piro came to the venue of the open school and heard the demands of students and their guardians. They promised that 1) Land for the Urdu school in Pasaur would be released from illegal encroachment by 25 May 2) Proper boundaries for this land would be constructed 3) A survey for land required for the Kauakhot school would be done that day itself 4) Teachers for this school would be appointed by 24 May. 5) As soon as school books are released by the Bihar government, they would be distributed.