Dalit school struggling in lack of resources

Published On: June 16, 2019 03:30 AM NPT By: Kamlesh Thakur

DHANUSHA, June 16: Students of Dalatiya Dalit National Primary School of Gajariya, Laxmaniya Rural Municipality – 3 do not have course books yet even though the academic session has been in progress for over two months. When they come to school, some carry cushion along as there are no benches at the school for them to sit on. Furthermore, the school does not even have proper classrooms, toilet, drinking water taps, a school bell, or an office room.

Saroj Yadav, a resident, blamed the pathetic condition of the school on politics and nepotism. "In other areas, community schools are doing great; some offer facilities as good as private schools. But this school, where poor children come for education, is neglected very much," he said. "It's due to politics and nepotism."

Students admitted at the school are from very financially families. Most of them are from Dalit the community. Due to the lack of education and awareness among guardians, complaints against the school are hardly lodged.

He stated that school established a decade ago has been a victim of political meddling since the beginning. "This is a school just for namesake; it does not have any feature that would qualify it for being so."

The school's principal Naresh Yadav lamented the lack of teachers also. Last year, the school had remained closed for almost six months. "We could not help it. We didn't have teachers to keep the school open," he said.

Even this year, the school has a single teacher and a staff that have to take care of all the students enrolled from basic to the third grade. "We had two teachers and one staff. But the staff members have not been around for some time now," he said.

Yadav himself has not received his salary for several months. Other teachers have not been lucky enough either. "My salary has not been issued for the last two years. It's the same with teachers and the staff that left. So nobody is willing to work," Yadav said.

The students are gathered in one place, and there is no fixed hour of studies. Bell never rings here. "We give them study breaks as per the situation. After around half an hour, or one hour. We haven't fixed break times," said Yadav.

Yadav accused the rural municipality of neglecting the school. 'Had the local body been sensitive, the school's situation would be different,' he said.

"We want to bring improvement, but the local body is playing politics. The management committee reshuffling should have taken place from time to time, but nothing much happens here," he reported. He further complained that committee neither issues his transfer nor releases his salary.

Students admitted at the school are from very financially families. Most of them are from Dalit the community. Due to the lack of education and awareness among guardians, complaints against the school are hardly lodged.

'Family's school'

Even though the school principal Naresh Yadav is unhappy with the local body for not providing the school its support, locals are not happy with him or his family. Saroj Yadav said that the family opened the school to run it by themselves. "They opened the school with the help of their political connections. Based on these connections, they have tried to run the solely."

The school was established in 2009 for which a local Ganesh Yadav, elder brother of the current school principal Naresh Yadav had donated land. Ganesh himself was the president of the management committee. He then appointed his brother as the teacher/principal in relief quota. Sarita Yadav, daughter of Naresh Yadav, was later appointed as a teacher for child development classes.

"It is like a family business. Though principal's daughter Sarita has been appointed as a Child Development Teacher, she hardly goes to school," Saroj said. "They have attendance registration book at home, and they sign it at home without ever going to school," he added.

In community schools, it is mandatory to change the chairperson of the management committee every three years. However, in the case of this school, Ganesh Yadav continues to be its chairperson since its founding. "Nobody is consulted for new chairperson or any other matter. The family has operated the school completely as their business," said a local. "It is not that the school does not get any budget. The family gobbles it all," he added.

However, principal Naresh Yadav defended his family, claiming that his brother had taken initiatives to open the school with good intention. "It is not wrong if we are working here," he said. "We would have operated the school in a better way if we received a bigger budget," he added.

Although children of well off families from the village go elsewhere for study, those from poor and Dalit families are enrolled here. According to locals, it is an unofficially declared school for Dalit. "Though others can go there too, the name itself says, it's for Dalit. Indeed, Dalit children go there," said a local woman.

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