18 Sep 2023 7:45 AM GMT
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Patna High Court by the civil rights group Social Jurist, represented by Advocate Ashok Agarwal, shedding light on the alleged deplorable conditions prevalent in various government schools across Bihar.The PIL underscores the dire state of these schools, as observed during visits by a team from Social Jurist, consisting of...
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Patna High Court by the civil rights group Social Jurist, represented by Advocate Ashok Agarwal, shedding light on the alleged deplorable conditions prevalent in various government schools across Bihar.
The PIL underscores the dire state of these schools, as observed during visits by a team from Social Jurist, consisting of Advocate Ashok Agarwal and Mr. Mohan Paswan, between March 2, 2022, and March 6, 2022, and subsequently from April 3, 2023, to April 6, 2023.
The team's assessments revealed severe deficiencies in crucial amenities, including proper classrooms, sanitation facilities, and a sufficient number of teachers. The schools in the East Champaran and West Champaran districts of Bihar were allegedly found in a hazardous condition, posing threats to the lives and well-being of the students and teaching staff.
A comprehensive report detailing the status of 27 government schools in Bihar was compiled by the Social Jurist team. Furthermore, the team engaged with parents whose children attended these schools. The team reported that despite their concerns about the dismal conditions, parents continue to send their children to these institutions in significant numbers in pursuit of education.
The petitioner addressed letters to the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court and the Chief Secretary of the Government of Bihar, apprising them of the grave situation in all 27 government schools.
The letter highlighted several issues, such as the lack of basic physical and academic infrastructure, unsafe school buildings, insufficient classrooms, non-functional toilet blocks, absence of drinking water facilities, the absence of boundary walls, a shortage of teachers, students sitting on the ground without desks, poorly maintained blackboards, unhygienic environments, the lack of libraries, and the distribution of mid-day meals in an unhygienic and undignified manner.
Furthermore, the team claims to have noted that the distribution of mid-day meals among students was not being conducted in a hygienic and dignified manner. It was also observed that when one egg was added to the mid-day meal once a week, student attendance doubled. The petitioner urged the Government of Bihar to consider providing at least one egg daily in the mid-day meal.
Another alarming observation was that over 50% of enrolled students were consistently absent from these schools, necessitating immediate attention from the State Government to ensure regular attendance, petitioner said.
The petitioner contends that the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, is not being effectively implemented in Bihar, and the alleged deplorable conditions in these schools represent a clear violation of the provisions of the Right to Education Act.
The PIL argues that the alleged hazardous conditions of these schools jeopardize the lives of the students, particularly girls, and are a major factor leading to dropout rates.
The petitioner has requested the Patna High Court to issue the following directives to the Government of Bihar:
Case Title: Social Jurist v. State of Bihar & Ors.