Despite all the good intentions of the government, education is still a distant dream for economically backward children. Had it been otherwise, 15-year-old Alekh Chandra Mandal might have been alive today.
Allegedly slapped with an illegal fine of Rs. 250 by his school and barred from taking a test as he was unable to pay it, Alekh committed suicide on Wednesday.
The son of daily wage labourer of Khandahar village, over 200 km east of Bhubaneswar, Alekh had not the requisite attendance to take his Class 12 board exams. He had to work to supplement the family income.
But before he came to that bridge, the state-run Agrawal High School in Basta demanded that he pay a fine, said his father Harihar Mandal. “We could not afford to pay on such a short notice, and my son was upset,” he added.
The school did not allow him to write the pre-board tests and on Wednesday, the boy consumed poison and died a few hours later at a hospital.
Following a complaint, the police have registered a case, charging headmaster Sarat Mishra with abetment to suicide.