Dhanbad: The new policy of ‘merging’ government schools by the state government forced school kids to protest by standing waist deep in water, reports a local daily. some 47 students from a primary school are protesting the government decision to merge their school with another, a middle school three kilometres away. The proposed school lacks basic facilities, students say.
Kajal Kumari (11) wanted to become a teacher to help her daily wage earner mother support a family of four after her father’s untimely death two years ago. However, instead of concentrating on her studies, the fifth-grader has been protesting against the merger of her school
Kajal and her brother Suraj Kumar (10), students of Class V of Prathmik Vidyalaya in Lakshmi Colony, were staging a dharna along with 46 other students from May 7 when they learned that their cradle had been merged with Madhya Vidyalaya, Parbad.
On Wednesday, they stood waist-deep in Manjhi Talab for more than an hour as part of their ongoing protest. Kajal said, “The middle school has no facilities such as electricity, boundary wall, playground and sufficient classrooms. It is also located in the middle of a jungle and there is a pond on the way that overflows during the rainy season, making the school inaccessible.”
Mohammed Firoz, a labourer and father of a student, said the Prathmik Vidyalaya school had been operating here for the last 30 years had six classrooms, a large playground, a hand pump and a well.
Questioning the rationale behind the merger, local grocery shop owner Ganesh Bharti, whose daughter Jia is a Class III student of Prathmik Vidyalaya, said, “If the merger was necessary, then why not use the well-equipped and better-located school building to run both the schools?” He said the new school, which was located in a desolate place, was not safe for girl students.
Accepting the lack of facilities at the school, principal of Madhya Vidyalaya, Parbad, P.N. Yadav said, “We have applied for an electricity connection but the lack of a power pole near the school is making the process difficult.”
He said following the merger, the number of students would at the middle school to 171 from 124. One teacher from Prathmik Vidyalaya will also be transferred to the new school, taking the total number of teachers to 3.
District superintendent of education Vineet Kumar said, “We will provide funds to the Madhya Vidyalaya, Parbad, to carry out wiring work for power connection. We will also coordinate with the Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam to ensure a power connection soon.”
Meanwhile, in Jamshedpur, students and their parents staged a demonstration at the district collectorate on Wednesday against the merger of a primary school in Sukna Basti at Baliguma in Mango with Utkramit Prathamik Vidyalaya in Upper Basti as the students would have to cross NH-33 to reach the new school.