The education system and the schools in Uttarakhand are passing through an extremely pitiable phase with tentatively over 2000 schools either closed or near closure due to the increasingly decreasing students’ addmissions in the rural areas, dilapidated conditions of school buildings, lack of teachers or the diminishing teaching standards.
However, the government says that the its happening because there is tremendous dearth of students where as the number of teachers is more in several primary and middle schools. Whatever, but one thing is absolutely clear that the successive state governments have literally failed in upgrading the standard of primary, middle, secondary and intermediate schools and colleges in entire Uttarakhand resulting in schools in dilapidated conditions with shattered roofs, leaking walls, students sitting on mats, non availability of quality mid day meals, absense of desks, furnitures, science labs, lavatories, computers, uniforms, staff and even teachers of English and science in particular.
In all there are approximately 17000 schools in entire Uttarakhand with 2300 primary schools financed by the government of the state. Out of these, about 2000 schools have already been closed due to shortage of students as per the logic of the state government. Though there had been tremendous tall claims by the state education minister and the secreyary education of improving the quality of education and providing the latest infrastructure to improvise the education system but if one visits in the majority of the schools situated in the interior villages the situation is tragically appalling.
After the influx and exodus of over 30 lakh people from villages to the cities, towns and metroplises of the state andthe country due to the absence of decentralised development and lack of basic health, jobs and educational facilities the conditions of the educatiin system and government schools have become bad to worse thus opening doors for more and more english medium high profile private schools and institututions in the hills who are minting handsome profits in collusion with the state authorities.
It may be recalled that even the High Court of the State has in 2016 while expressing serious concern over the appaling condition of the primary, middle and Secondary schools of the state has issued clear directions to the state government to improve the deteriorating standards of schools in Ittarakhand by providing mid day meals of high quality, renovating all the dilapidated buildings, arranging computers, adequate science labs, providing free winter and summer dresses, arranging adequate number of toilets in schools, especially for girl students, providing desks and furnitures and sports facilities to the students but of no avail.
Not only this but the Uttarakhand Child Rights Commission too has in 2018 written to the chief secretary about the sorry state of affairs in government schools of the Uttarakhand hills after conducting in depth surveys and have given them seventeen points about the various inadequacies with which the students are suffering. But despite all this nothing fruitful seems to have been done except hollow promises and mere cover ups despite the governments tall claims of allocating maximum budget to the education sector of the state.
The point is had there been quality education in the schools of Uttarakhand and availability of the minimum basic facilities why would 2000 schools witness the tragic end of closure. It’s really shocking that on four important sectors of rural health, education, employment and agricultural development the successive governments of Congress and BJP has literally failed thus encouraging uncontrollable exodus of peoole from the villages to plains.
This unambiguously speaks of the fact that while Uttarakhand lacks leaders and planners with accurate developmental vision there seems to be an urgentand mandatory need for shifting the state capital from Dehradun to Gairsain to enable a clear cut decentralised village oriented development, the actual concept for which separate Uttarakhand state came into existence 18 years ago. The main reason behind the lack of an overall development and the environmental friendly scientific innovation in the interior hills is due to the non participation of our lawmakers, planners, engineers and bureaucracy etc in the core hill development issues like health, education, agriculture, improving water augmentation, sewer system, horticulture and the small and cottege industries etc.
And thisis because no one wants to climb the hills or becomeparticipatory in the developmental process by living in the interiors with their families. They have become prone to comfirts and luxuries of the capital Dehradun. The declaration and contruction of the new capital right between the hills equidistance from Kumaon and Garhwal districts will inculcate in them an urge and necessity for the decentralised development and as such Gairsain is the need of the hour. It will also lead with reverse migration on a massive scale opening a new chapter of a vibrant and resurgent Uttarakhand. What’s your take friends?
SUNIL NEGI, PRESIDENT, UTTARAKHAND JOURNALISTS FORUM