There is only one thing common among the young labourers of a Madhya Pradesh village --They all are Class 8 pass as there is no higher secondary school within the 20-km radius of the village.
Absence of a higher education facility at Gawasen village in Betul is the reason why the young are resorting to working as labourers in the fields or local sericulture plants, social activists said.
The residents of the village, which has about 1200 population, have been demanding a higher secondary school here for the past many years but neither the politicians nor the administration officials have paid any heed to their demand, activists said.
Anarkali Uike, 18, who once dreamt of becoming a teacher, has been working as labourer at a sericulture plant for the past five years, as she could not pursue higher studies and started working at the plant to earn her livelihood.
"Since the very first day of my school, I wanted to be a teacher. I expressed my desire to my parents but they could not send me to the city for further education due to poor financial condition," she said. But, Anarkali still wants to continue her study.
Like her, there were about 40 girls in this tribal dominated village who could not continue their studies after Class 8. Shakuntala Barode, 17, said not a single girl had joined high school from my village so far. “All the girls only regret that they could not pursue their dream due to unavailability of schools," she said.
Ramesh Barode, a villager said, "I regret that I could not help my daughter continue study because of my financial situation. Had there been a higher secondary school in my village or nearby it, today my daughter would have completed higher secondary school."
Head master of the government middle school of Gawasen, RD Yadav, said that many meritorious girls passed out from the school every year but they could not pursue higher education. Many of them are working as labourers just because they didn’t have a higher school to carry on their studies, he said.
District collector Gyaneshwar B Patil said, “According to 'Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan', there should be a high school within five villages. A survey will be conducted and if possible immediate a high school would be opened.”