Gonda backward in education
The Times of India News Service
GONDA: In a national survey report the district was identified as one of the most educationally-backward in the eastern region of Uttar Pradesh.
Therefore the Centre and state governments for the ambitious literacy expansion plan from time to time several compaigns involving multi-core budget but sadly enough it proved a costlier misadventure in the district. According to a latest census report of 2001 more than 58 per cent of the absolute population 27,65,754 were still `Nirakchar'. The male literacy percentage was 58.93 while female was only 27.29 despite of a very huge expenditure.
While shortlisting the bottomline reasons for the geat set-back many knowledgeable sources disclosed to news service that feudal society, dishonest and corrupt officials, feudal lords and greedy politicians and acute regional poverty were fairly responsible for the sorry state of affairs.
When contacted Ram Sunder Mishra, a retired headmaster of Imliya Gurdayal Primary School in Jhanjri block lamented that even in the post-independence era the rajas, toluqdars and big zamindars dominated the political and official spectrum who far keeping the downtroddon, exploited and the weaker section of society under their thumb for their narrower gains always thwarted all the developmental and welfare prans in connivance with the local officials. The result was dangerous. Since rural development became a distant dream the literacy movement went into silent burial. Big chunk of the multi-crore financial cake was dishonestly eaten up by the local `netas' and corrupt officials implementing the drive. Many primary and junior schools in rural sector had no buildings, toilets and drinking water facilities, he added.
He further said that since the teachers of those schools mostly belonged to the areas so they had close links with the local political so they cared a little for the official authorities. Many of them were managing their school duty through their proxy voice. Many educated unemployed youths on a nominal monthly tips in their absence were going to their schools as their ambassadors. The ofifciials wee fully alive to the situation but for fear of their life and limbs were maintaining the strict secrecy.
Since the local rich and influential men for their domestic and agricultural purpose always badly needed the poor masses so they always created hurdles in the way whenever attempts were made for creating the rural awareness or awakening the masses. Hence, the suffering men and women rural folk by reconciling with their ktragic fate always livid in dark ages and could never free themselves from the shackles of illiteracy. The `Sakchartha Abhiyan" proved a hallowed slogan, he added.
Another primary school teacher preferring the anonymity while recalling the days of his ordeals said that when he was transferred to a newly-opened primary school in Wazirganj block he had very tiring time. Since the school adjoinign areas were mostly dominated by daily wage earners and the population was living below the poverty line so there was great dearth of children for running the school.
Despite hectic efforts the parents could not be mobilised because during their long-day absence from their houses for earning their meagre livlihod their minor children used to take care of their cattles.
However, a good sense dawned upon the poverty struck parents when they were asked by the school authorities to send their wards with their cattles as it doubly served the purpose. Firstly, the minor kids would learn the `ABC' and secondly they would be able to keep a watch on their grazing cattle in the school's vast premises . Thus in this way the school was saved from the collapsed. Moreover owing to poverty the dropout numbers in schools were alarmingly very high because the parent's financial crisis mostly forced the schoolgoing children to discontinue their studies.
A senior member of literacy drive ministerial staff privately admitted to this scribe that neck deep corruption and malpractices adopted by the authorites and local toughs and roughs drained down a huge sum which was meant for literacy expansion in the area. Since both were interested in their self-improvement no one cared for the general improvement of the illiterate masses. So the constant neglect and apathy towards the literacy drive painted a very gloomy rural scenarioi.
Deep Narayan Pandey, president of Civil Bar Association and District Congress Committee, said mafiosi had sabotaged the literacy drive. Their strongmen somehow got the open and backdoor entry in the rural schools who polluted the whole teaching atmosphere.
Moreover, the mafiosi of all the political times by indulging in unholy nexus with corrupt and dishonest officials siphoned the major part of literacy budget in all the regime. In the ruling BJP government not very long ago a basic shiksha adhikari (BSA) Anand Parkash Srivastava who was on verge of retirement was suspended for making illegal payment of moe than Rs 20 lakh for literacy purchase materials under the dictate of a BJP mafioso. Another BSA Yogendra Kumar Singh who did not yeild to the wrongful pressure of an ex-BJP legislator was beaten up in his office at Vikas Bhawan. The godown of literacy campaign materials worth several lakh rupees was set ablaze when news of surprise raids leaked out because the materials were sub-standard and very much less against the number of the payment bills.
When contacted Markandey Singh, district magistrate, admitted that in view of the huge expenditure the result was not very encourging. Personally he was of the view that for achieving the real target of literacy the schools, colleges and students should be compulsarily involved in the movement. The government in return of their services might enhance the annual grant of the institutions and upgrade the merit of students according to their work ratio.