AASU flays Govt education policy

GUWAHATI, Jan 31 – The education policy of the Assam Government has been condemned by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which described it as a grave threat to school education, and especially to students in Government-aided schools across the State.

Lambasting the Assam Government’s stance vis-à-vis educational affairs, the student body demanded that the government should come up with a White Paper on its performance in the education sector.

In a press meet held here today, AASU leaders lambasted Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and State Education Minister Gautam Borah for their “utter failure and lack of vision” in promoting the education sector in Assam. They were of the belief that the Government, and the education department in particular, have prepared the ground for the destruction of school education in Assam.

“We have been drawing attention to a range of problems related to education, but so far the Government has failed to come up with a single satisfactory response,” said AASU president Sankar Prasad Rai, who added that the Tarun Gogoi government has simply failed to treat education as a priority sector.

He said that the Government’s decision to make Class V a part of primary education was ill-timed as there was a dearth of teachers and infrastructure to cater to the needs of students.

Rai expressed surprise over the fact that the Government’s decision was not preceded by a thorough assessment of the ground reality, and it would jeopardise the lives of countless children studying in Class V who would have no trained teachers or infrastructure to make learning possible.

Tapan Kumar Gogoi, AASU general secretary, in his address said that under Sarva Siksha Abhijan Mission, school education in Assam has confronted a serious crisis. He regretted that a large number of posts of teachers were lying vacant and the Assam Government has shown no interest in filling those.

Expressing apprehension over the appointment of school teachers on a contractual basis, Gogoi mentioned that teachers on contracts would not have the motivation to carry out their duties, and hence their posts should be made permanent.

AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya was strident in demanding that the Assam Government can no longer hide its shameful performance in the education sector and should come up with a White Paper stating what it has been able to do so far.

Bhattacharyya denounced the Chief Minister and the State Education Minister for failing to provide books to scores of students even after the commencement of the academic session. Further, he underlined the need to adopt a planned approach in different levels of education, which should include a rethink of the evaluation of examination answers scripts.

The AASU adviser said that there was an acute need for resurgence in the education system of the state if the interests of the students are to be protected. Referring to a recent survey carried out by Pratham, an NGO, Bhattacharyya asserted that the findings of the assessment portrayed the dismal state of school education in Assam.

The AASU leaders warned that if a favourable response from the Government was not forthcoming it would be left with no option but to go in for mass agitation. Before that, the students’ body plans to go in for a brainstorming session engaging teachers and educationists to chalk out an agenda to improve the education scene.