Aasu holds govt responsible

GUWAHATI: The fact that just 17,780 students out of the 2,25,634 appearing for the higher secondary (HS) examination this year are from the science stream is a serious cause for concern and it exposes the poor education scenario in Assam, said All Assam Students' Union (AASU), alleging the state government was responsible for the deplorable condition of education in the state.

"It is because of the utter negligence of the state government that students don't want to take up science. Forget about facilities such as a well-equipped laboratory, our higher secondary schools do not even have adequate classrooms and teachers. So, under such circumstances, we cannot expect a large number of students to opt for science," Aasu advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya said.

"Though the decision to remove the HS section from colleges and include it in schools has been postponed for a year, the state government does not seem to be taking any measures to address the problems of the students," he said, adding Aasu is not opposed to the idea of removal of higher secondary from colleges, but it demands reformation in all high schools across the state. The UGC has already directed all colleges in Assam to remove the higher secondary section and concentrate on degree courses. But, there aren't enough schools with adequate infrastructure that can absorb the huge number of students in Class Eleven in the event of colleges discontinuing the HS section. Though there is an urgent need to upgrade the existing high schools to higher secondary level by building adequate infrastructure to absorb the students who have passed the matriculation examination, nothing much has been done by the government.

Aasu said that unless the government takes some serious steps towards the development of the overall education scenario, its condition would only deteriorate.

"First of all, qualified teachers should be appointed at all the HS schools besides ensuring there are sufficient classrooms and well-equipped laboratories. School in rural areas should not be any different or lag behind in infrastructure from those in the city. Only then can we really hope for an increase in the number of science students at the HS level," Bhattacharyya said, adding if more top institutes of the country like IITs are established in the state, students may feel more motivated to take up science. "Moreover, we believe that educational programmes in schools and colleges should be devised according to the needs of students, but we have not seen any such thing happening here," he added. The Aasu leader urged the government to remove all politicians occupying positions in the education department for the smooth management and growth of the sector. "I think all politicians should be removed from the system and a new board should be constituted with noted educationists. Only then will the problems affecting education in Assam be addressed properly," Bhattacharyya said. "Moreover, we demand effective restructuring of the entire examination system along with student-friendly evaluation in order to ensure the student community gets optimum benefits. An atmosphere of healthy competition should be created to encourage students to excel in studies. There should not be any difference between a school in which a minister's children study and one in which a common man's kids study," he said.