Three years ago, Md Shehnavaz, a 12-year-old student of Dhanaila Primary School had never seen only two teachers. His classes would happen once in a few days, but it was a new problem. The school was completed in 2007 and catered to over 350 students, mostly from Maha Dalit community, but only two teachers were appointed for the entire school.
Under Article 46 of the Indian Constitution, it is stated that "The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker section of the people, and in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation." However, 66 years after the country adopted this constitution, Dalit children across India continue to face discrimination.
Bihar is the poorest state in India and 81% of its population are suffering from poor health and nutrition, lack of access to education and substandard living conditions. Bihar also has one of the highest concentrations of Dalit people and being a deeply conservative region the caste system still dictates the order of modern life for millions here.
According to the NHRC statistics put together by K.B. Saxena, a former additional chief secretary of Bihar, 45 percent children remain illiterate.
According to the Right to Education Act, (RTE) , the pupil to teacher ratio is supposed to be 30:1. However, even multiple complaints to the concerned authorities didn't work, leaving the children's education to suffer. Enraged by the neglect, Mangnu Ram, our Community Correspondent from Bihar's Darbhanga district made a video on this issue. and gave it to the Deputy Commissioner of Sahebganj district who took action to make sure the children don’t suffer any further. New teachers have finally been appointed.
Mangnu then motivated the community to join his efforts to bring quality education for their children. He organised community screenings and meetings where he told the residents their children's right under the RTE. Empowered by Mangnu's support, the community wrote a collective application to the concerned Block Development Officer who took action to make sure the children don’t suffer any further. Six new teachers have finally been appointed after seven years of wait.
This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent Mangnu Ram.
Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.
In this video of UPS Manwan Awoora school, Kupwara, Kashmir, the community correspondent Pir Azhar shows us that there are nine classes for 250 students, and due to lack of space, the lower primary classes are held outside in the open. Also the school has only 7 teachers.