THE students and youth of Bhojpur, who have worked constantly for the past 2 years for the right to education of children of the poor through popular programs like ‘Sadak pe School’ and given a new message to the country, recently organized a symposium in Ara on the right to education. The topic of the symposium held in the Radhakrishnan auditorium at Veer Kunwar Singh University was ‘Inequality, Education, and the Constitution’. Organized under the banners of the Akhil Bharatiya Shiksha Adhikar Manch and AISA, the symposium was addressed by renowned educationist and member of the Common School System Commission Prof Anil Sadgopal as the main speaker.
Prof Anil Sadgopal said that the farmers and workers in the country suffer the greatest wastage of time, resulting in a considerable reduction in their productivity. This also creates greater inequality. He referred to Dr Ambedkar’s 25 November 1949 speech and said that Ambedkar raised the question of inequality even at the time of the adoption of the Constitution in its final form. He said that the Constitution ensures that the cost of every citizen’s vote will be the same, be it an Ambani or a poor person. Article 14 of the Constitution says that all citizens in society are equal in the eyes of the law, no matter what their religion, class, gender, or language; soon conditions for ending religion and caste based inequality will be engendered and the country will move towards stability.
Prof Sadgopal said that the country is going through contrarian times which, if not treated, will destroy the country. According to Article 15 of the Constitution, ir is the responsibility of the government not to discriminate among citizens in any way. The children of some in government schools and the children of others in private schools—this right has not been given by the Constitution to any government. He said that there are 11,000 Kendriya Vidyalayas in the country. There is not a single private school which is better than the Kendriya Vidyalayas. But the Kendriya Vidyalayas are only for a chosen handful. 14 lakh schools in the country are in adverse condition. We must keep up our fight till these 14 lakh government schools become like the Kendriya Vidyalayas. No government has the right to inflict such inequality, whether it is a state government or a central government.
He said that among the children who pass Class 12, only 6% are adivasi, 8% dalit, 9% Muslim, and 10% OBC. The ‘Make in India’ scheme started by the government in 2014 is not a welfare scheme but a means to prepare cheap labour. Make in India has been made with the purpose of giving capitalists cheap land, cheap loans, and a license to loot.
Addressing the symposium, CPI(ML) leader and CC Member Com. Raju Yadav said earlier, in this very Bhojpur dalit children were not allowed to go to school that right has been secured through struggle and sacrifices. The Modi government talks of ‘One India One Tax’, but never of ‘One India One Education’. This government’s nationalism is also a deception in which students and intellectuals who speak of the Constitution, equality and dignity are branded ‘anti-nationals’.
RYA National President Com. Manoj Manzil said that the children of the poor study in schools where there is no teacher, no basic facilities, not even essentials like drinking water and toilets. These people have no other option. Middle school students have no knowledge of Hindi; Class 10 students do not know English; students of Classes 7 and 8 are ignorant of Mathematics; Class 5 students have not even heard the name Mathematics. The rich man’s child studies in America, while the poor man’s child is unable to study even in our own country. 80% girl children leave studies half way through. Most children leave studies after Class 10. The recommendations of the Common School System Commission have been murdered under the Modi-Nitish regime. No new schools are being opened; old schools are being shut down; and JIO University is being touted as a model.
The symposium was also addressed by AISA State Secretary. Shiv Prakash Ranjan, Akhil Bharat Shiksha Adhikar District convener Akhilesh Kumar, Jain College Students Union President Drishti Raj, SB College Students Union President Sudhir Kumar, B.Ed student and AISA leader Rakesh Kumar, and others. The symposium was conducted by AISA District Secretary Shabbir Kumar.