Abhanpur, a small locality about 28 km southeast of state capital Raipur, witnessed a novel protest by school students against the government’s mismanagement of education.
About 160 students of the only local middle school in the locality decided to lock the school gate on Thursday evening and lay siege to the residence of state education minister Brijmohan Agrawal in the capital. Their demand: a teacher to run the school.
The middle school did not have any teacher since the beginning of the academic year, beginning June 15.
“Although the state government appointed thousands of shiksha karmis (teachers on contract), there should be no reason why “the school should run without any teacher”, said Prem Kumar whose son was among the protesters.
But a World Bank survey conducted in 8 countries in 2004 showed teacher absenteeism is the second highest in India, after Uganda, and much higher than Bangladesh, Ecuador and Zambia.
What’s more, in India, 25 per cent of schoolteachers bunk classes everyday.
As a result, the survey showed, about 60 per cent of the students enrolled in primary schools drop out by the time they reach Class V. Taken aback, Agrawal promised the students that some arrangement would be made in seven days.