Skip to main content

More than 8,200 West Bengal govt schools 'to be closed down'. Can UNESCO help?

By Harasankar Adhikari 
Recently, UNESCO showed interest in the West Bengal education system, and the Institute for Lifelong Learning of the United Nations Agency expressed its willingness to join the State’s education system because the government is reportedly taking several initiatives for strengthening the education system. But has this agency collected the information on the ground reality of this state’s education system and its very recent data?
A few days ago, a list of 8,207 schools to be closed went viral in social media. The list was prepared and leaked by the concerned department of West Bengal because the student strength of these schools is about 30 or less.
Statistics from the West Bengal education department revealed the poor state of affairs in the primary education sector, with as many as 7,018 state-run primary schools shutting shop in the last ten years. In 2021, the number of primary schools in West Bengal was 75,299. The number of primary schools in West Bengal fell gradually from 76,703 in 2016 to 75,299 in 2021. 
Further, it was also reveals that, as of March 31, 2012, there were 74,717 state-run primary schools in West Bengal. The figure has come down to 67,699 as of March 31, 2022.
Another scenario states that the number of examinees for secondary examinations in this year (2023) has been reduced by 50 percent from last year. It has been recorded that the rate of high school dropouts (especially after the Class-VIII standard) has been increasing. As there is a limited scope of jobs after higher education, this section migrates to different states for jobs.
Why is this happening? Is West Bengal's population growth stagnant? Or have parents of children at the bottom of the pyramid no faith in government sponsored education? Or are they interested in their wards’ school education in the private sector ? Or are they not interested in sending their wards into schools for education because there is no future in it? Or education is not for the poor.
The government is secretly facilitating privatization in education, and it works for education but not for the poor
This government provides a package of incentives for the attainment of education by all. Now almost every school has the facilities of a building, separate toilets, and drinking water. Up to class VIII, education is free. The government provides books and educational materials, dress and shoes; a midday meal (although quality and quantity are doubted); Sabuj Satha (a bicycle); world-recognized Kanyashree; and so on.
Then, why do people turn their back on government sponsored education? Of course, the quality of education and teachers, as well as the attitudes of teachers towards pupils, are deeply attached to this. Private tuition has become mandatory for students for their own benefit. Secondly, corruption in school jobs is another factor impacted. 
Thirdly, the government is secretly facilitating privatization in education, and it works for education but not for the poor because education has no future in job sectors. And also, the educated degree holders have no status, while the just literate politicians of different hierarchies enjoy the highest form of power, prestige, and ownership of wealth.
The current policy in education is furthering illiteracy in the state. The state would surely sink into the deep ocean of darkness where political politics and corruption are misleading and de-motivating the future generation and their guardians (especially those in poor socio-economic strata). Is it the birthplace and work place of Raja Rammohun Roy, Iswarchandra Vidyasagar, Swami Vivekananda, and Rabindranath Tagore, who struggled to remove the darkness of this land through education? 
Every sensitive citizen should think why this is happening and the State should be protected from discriminatory politics.

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Jallianwala massacre: Why Indian govt hasn't ever officially sought apology from UK

By Manjari Chatterjee Miller*  The king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, apologized in July 2023 for his ancestors’ role in the colonial slave trade. He is not alone in expressing remorse for past wrongs. In 2021, France returned 26 works of art seized by French colonial soldiers in Africa – the largest restitution France has ever made to a former colony. In the same year, Germany officially apologized for its 1904-08 genocide of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia and agreed to fund reconstruction and development projects in Namibia. .

Will Budget 2024 help empower city govts, make them India's growth engines?

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Arjun Kumar* Cities in India are envisioned as engines of growth. Any meaningful long-term vision for India would be incomplete without planning for the cities and quite rightly, urbanization is considered as one of the country’s top developmental challenges. Realization of full potential of cities depends crucially on their ability to provide ‘enabling’ environment especially in terms of sustained provision of a wide range of urban infrastructure and services.