Imphal, Sept 5:
North East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) today wrote to the Assam Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma regarding the government’s decision to close 34 government schools in the state and amalgamate them with nearby schools. It should be noted that this decision would affect the already crumbling educational infrastructure and jeopardize students’ academic careers. The decision was taken after none of the students in these schools passed this year’s High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) or the 10th examination. It should be known that the issues of mass failure in HSLC examination and decreased student enrolment can be attributed to the central and state government’s negligence of government schools.
Recently, it has been reported that this year the overall pass percentage is 56.49%, the lowest since 2018. It is also reported that apart from these 34 schools, another 68 schools had a pass percentage of less than 10%. In this context, it should be noted that the failure of students in schools puts the onus on the government to improve their condition, not close them. This is especially needed as during the pandemic cum lockdown no concrete arrangement was made by the government for the students of government schools, as a result of which their education has drastically suffered.
It should also be noted that the government had earlier announced the closing of around 800 government schools that have less than 30 students. Importantly, students from socio-economically vulnerable sections mostly enroll in government schools, and closing of these schools would mean depriving them of their right to quality education.
The need of the hour is not the closure and amalgamation of government schools for this would lead to an adverse effect and would cause a decrease in overall enrolment of students. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure every student’s right to quality education and maintain and enlarge quality educational infrastructure. It is high time for the government to seriously look into the crumbling of state-funded educational institutions. This is a crucial matter as it involves the future and career of students. Only by establishing more and quality schools, and improving the quality of education can the students’ enrolment be increased.
In the memo sent to the Assam Chief Minister, it has been demanded to immediately revoke the government’s decision to shut down and amalgamate government schools with nearby schools, ensure and increase students enrollment in these government schools, recruit more teachers for government schools, establish new schools, and to establish proper educational infrastructure to provide quality education to students. NEFIS would be intensifying its struggle for quality educational infrastructure in the North-East in the coming days.