With teachers staying away, villagers lock up Bihar government school in Araria | india-news | Hindustan Times
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With teachers staying away, villagers lock up Bihar government school in Araria

Villagers’ action prompted government authorities to sit up and take note of the situation, leading to the transfer of the absentee teachers in Raniganj block of Araria district.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2017 12:32 IST
Aditya Nath Jha
The government primary school at Raniganj in Bihar’s Araria district is grappling with teacher absenteeism.
The government primary school at Raniganj in Bihar’s Araria district is grappling with teacher absenteeism. (Hindustan Times photo)

Protesting absenteeism of teachers, villagers in Bihar’s Araria district locked up a government primary school.

The primary school at Refugee Tola in Raniganj block, 322 kms (approx.) north east of Patna, has two teachers for 100 students of classes 1 to 5. However, villagers alleged that teachers Shagufta Riyaz and Amit Kumar Yadav would seldom go to school. This resulted in students staying away from it and the school not functioning for the larger part of the year.

READ| Dropouts, quality concerns bug education sector

The villagers took the extreme step after their complaints to the Raniganj block education officer feel on deaf ears.

Their action prompted the authorities to transfer Riyaz and Yadav and also issue them show-cause notices. With new set of teachers — Indu Bhushan Singh Chandan and Trilok Kumar — who joined last week, the school has re-opened after two months.

Somaria Devi, 70, who donated her land for the school a decade back, is dejected.

“I had donated my land so that children in the village could study and become literate. I was wrong. The school has become a haunted house, with no teachers and students,” Devi said.

“There are 100 students enrolled at this school on paper. They are also shown to consume mid-day meal,” she said, hinting at a possible scam.

READ| Bihar topper scam: Nitish vows action, says teachers in 600 schools to face axe

“We repeatedly complained to the district officials over the prolonged absence of teachers and requested them to ensure regular classes. It was only when no action was taken that we collectively decided to lock the school two months ago,” said Raju Chauhan, a villager.

Raniganj block education officer (BEO) Vijay Kumar said, “We have replaced the teachers deputed at the school earlier and also issued them show cause notices over their unauthorised absence. The school is now functioning normally.”

Araria district education officer Md Faijurrahman said, “I have sought a report from the BEO.”

The pass percentage in Bihar board examinations this year is a poor reflection of the academic scenario in the state.

READ| BSEB Class 12 results 2017: 35.25% students pass, officials say strict measures responsible for poor show

Out of the 12.40 lakh students, who took the Class 12 examination conducted by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB), just 4.37 lakh or 35.25% managed to clear the board exam. Last year, 11.55 lakh students appeared in the exam and 7.18 lakh or 62.19% cleared it.

This year, only 30.11% students cleared the Class 12 or intermediary science (ISc) exam. Last year, the pass percentage of ISc students was 67.06 and in 2015 89.32% students cleared the exam.

The pass percentage in humanities or IA was just a bit higher at 37.13 and in commerce or ICom 73.76% students passed this year. The pass percentage for IA was 56.73 and that for ICom was 80.87 in 2016.

Bihar’s Seemanchal area, which comprising four districts of Katihar, Kishanganj, Purnia and Araria, has 7,793 primary and middle schools, 49 Kasturba Gandhi girls’ school and 380 high schools. Over 20 lakh children are enrolled in them, but high dropout rate in them remains a concern.

Interestingly, just 42% of students enrolled in standard 1 are able to complete their secondary education (Class 10), while just 38% complete higher secondary (Class 12) as per Bihar Economic Survey, 2016-17.