Gyan Abhiyan DAY 5
Beginning the day at 9, we left for Meyar. From here we would resume our journey, and push onwards till Bhui. We welcomed a few new people to our cause- a Railway officer, a highschool girl and a law student along with a few others. Our transport dropped us off at Meyar where at 9:30 we had our Breakfast of Milk, Chana, Roti and Chutney. Then we left off at 10:15, with high spirits and a sense of solidarity. The road greeted us with bumps and shocks, but we cycled on till we reached our first destination : the village of Chandora.
Here we stopped at the village school, to talk to the people and look at present conditions. At the ‘Aangan Badi’ we heard kids recite poems and sing the alphabet, in an unco-ordinated cacophony. In the higher classrooms, we found the same tight blind discipline in the students. The school building was not completed like the others, and we also found a lot of dangerous rusted structures that once used to be slides and swings. The mothers sang a inspirational song about education and ‘moving forward’, before the discussion began. We explained the importance of teacher-parent meetings, and they told us of the problems they faced due to the lack of a compound wall.
At the same time, half the team moved onwards to Lacchepur. There we stopped at the primary school, where we found the principal missing. One teacher was present, who told us that the school ran with the help of 3 people. The Head Master was ill and the other teacher had gone to a wedding. The children were sitting idle while the teacher ran inbetween classes. We interacted with a class, and Dr. Mithelesh Singh entertained the little kids with magic tricks and funny theatrics. While talking to the mothers, we found out that parent-teacher meetings never take place. We reminded them again and again the importance of transparency.
The hours dragged on and we found ourselves having lunch at Buiy. As usual the chutney and aloo were delicious. By now we had already internalized the staple food of Bihar. We then head to the Buiy village school, that held 400 students and just 5 teachers. With a teacher student ratio of 1/80, we were yet again displayed the plight of quality education in Bihar. The Mid-day meals were also not getting delivered because the rice had not arrived. This appears to be the common situation for most schools these days.
We reached Seema late in the evening, and yet again the skies became pitch dark. Here we entered the village school, that was by now almost empty. The Gram Sangatan Samajik Committee along with many mothers of students, then began to turn up. There was a huge turnover, with the room entirely filled. Here we had a heated debate over various topics. We were told that the kids run away after the mid-day meal, because they aren’t served enough and that the Head Master had held just one meeting in six months. However, these gritty women would not give up and had constantly requested for meetings, but were turned down quite rudely. The Committee morally polices, the households and informs them of important agendas. It was also nice to see that the women acknowledged that they also shared the burden of the blame, and promised to actively work harder.
The Day was good, not very tiring and definitely productive. However, yet again hammered in the fact that quality education is still miles ahead. The fundamental issues were once again visible, and dispite the numerous perspectives that we got, the problems remained the same. Once again the teacher-student ratio was appalling and once again the women self-help group’s participation was affirming.