North East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) on Monday wrote to Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma regarding the government’s decision to close down 34 government schools in Assam and amalgamate them with nearby schools.
In a release, NEFIS stated that this decision would affect the already crumbling educational infrastructure and jeopardize students’ academic careers. The decision was taken after none of the students in these schools passed this year's High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) or the 10th examination, it stated.
NEFIS stated that the issues of mass failure in HSLC examination and decreased student enrolment can be attributed to the Central and state government's negligence of government schools.
Recently, it has been reported that this year the overall pass percentage is 56.49 per cent, the lowest since 2018, it stated. Apart from these 34 schools, another 68 schools reportedly had a pass percentage of less than 10 per cent, it mentioned. In this context, it should be noted that the failure of students in schools puts the onus on the government to improve their condition, not close them, it added.
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This is especially needed as during the pandemic cum lockdown, no concrete arrangement was made by the government for the students of government schools, as a result of which their education has drastically suffered, it stated.
The government had earlier announced the closing of around 800 government schools that have less than 30 students, it further stated. Importantly, students from socio-economically vulnerable sections mostly enroll in government schools, and closing of these schools would mean depriving them of their right to quality education.
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NEFIS further stated the memo sent to the Assam chief minister demanded to immediately revoke the government's decision to shut down and amalgamate government schools with nearby schools, ensure and increase students enrollment in these government schools, recruit more teachers for government schools, establish new schools, and to establish proper educational infrastructure to provide quality education to students. NEFIS would be intensifying its struggle for quality educational infrastructure in the Northeast in the coming days, it added.