Strike Three: Jharkhand’s Ailing Education System

Judging by past videos made by IndiaUnheard Community Correspondents from Jharkhand, the state’s record on education is less than inspiring.  In this video, Correspondent, Amita Tute reports on how a three month long teacher strike brought the teaching activities across Jharkhand to a grinding halt. The Para-teachers at the New Primary School in Birdih, Khunti joined 85,000 others across the state and went on strike for three months starting August 28th 2012. They were demanding a rise in salaries and regularisation of services. The strike wreaked havoc with the students’ lives. In this school, some of the students tried to make up for the absence their teachers by teaching themselves.  Another effect of the strike was the breakdown of the mid-day meal scheme, something that is a major attraction for the students. Across India, para teachers, are used to make up for deficits of fully qualified teachers. In many cases they are selected by village panchayats themselves. Across the board, it is found that they are not paid well. A few months ago, another correspondent covered the story of 2 para teachers who weren’t paid for 4 years In theory, there are arguments both for and against the use of such staff. The reality however is that there is often no other option but to use a teacher who is willing to teach but isn’t fully qualified to do so. This video, also by Amita, is a telling example of lack of teachers. Amita who belongs to the Munda tribal community is a strong advocate for education for children. “I have often seen how the lack of facilities keeps the children away from school and this affects them later in life,” she says. Article by: Kayonaaz Kalyanwala

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