A school in a Assam tea garden
Representational image: Courtesy: The News Mill

Assam: Manifesto Highlighting Abysmal Education Situation In Tea Gardens Prepared

March 9, 2021

Several civil society groups including Purva Bharati Educational Trust (PBET), All Adivasi Women Association of Assam (AAWAA), All Adivasi Students' Association of Assam (AASAA), Assam Tea Tribe Students Association ((ATTSA), Jorhat) came together on March 8 and prepared a manifesto highlighting the plight and abysmal situation of education in the tea estates in Assam- especially the state of education of girl child- and the actions required to ensure quality education.

Education is a fundamental right under Article 21 (A) of the Constitution of India.

Education for all children (aged 6-14) is free and compulsory guaranteed by the constitution of India as a fundamental human right under Article 21 (A).

Education enables an individual to lead a dignified life in society and to manage basic requirements for survival.

In general, the education condition in the tea estates is underdeveloped despite having basic schooling facilities there.

Lack of quality education, accessibility of schools and accountability for education is resulting in high rates of dropouts.

The teacher-pupil ration, dysfunctional infrastructure, lack of trained teacher, distance of the school, education-related expenses are the few major issued identified by the civil society working in the tea plantation are.

There is an urgent need for attention by the government to address the above issues and international women’s day 2021 is the right time to make such a commitment.

The groups, thereby, have demanded the following-

  • Provincialize all Tea Garden schools and take them under the control of the government and the RTE norms in terms of infrastructure development, Student-Teacher ratio, teacher’s appointment, quality education etc must be ensured
  • Immediately stop the amalgamation of schools and instead improve the school infrastructure of the schools in the tea gardens
  • Allocate a special budget and develop a financial roadmap for implementation of the RTE Act and the National Education Policy specifically for tea gardens
  • Establish monitoring and grievance mechanism in each district to look after the quality education of the tea garden schools and include civil society groups like ATTSA, AASAA, AAWAA to extend support and expertise
  • Ensure functional WASH facilities in all schools and Crèches in the tea gardens and appointment of trained mental health counsellor and educators to provide gender-equitable personal, social, health sexual health in schools
  • Establish adequate school from the Primary to Secondary level in or nearby areas of Tea Gardens for the children of the tea gardens
  • Establish Girls’ Hostel under Tea Tribe Welfare Board in district headquarters
  • Establish Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya for the tea garden children to address the issue of trafficking, occupational migration
  • Introduce Special scholarship for the Tea Garden Girls for motivating them to take up formal education
  • Reserve for Tea Garden students in technical institutions
  • Utilise CSR fund of Tea Company on education in the Tea Gardens
  • Set up a separate department on Tea Studies in the Universities of Assam which will offer a course on lives and livelihoods, culture, plants, soil
  • Set up a free residential coaching institution for tea garden students for the advancement of knowledge in competitive exams
  • Develop Separate Labour Law specific to Plantation in Assam

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