Dividing them young! Bihar's government school makes students from different castes sit in different classrooms
Authorities of Bihar’s education department were unaware of the regressive practice being followed at the GA Higher Secondary (Plus 2) School at Lalganj in Vaishali district so far.
PATNA: The scourge of caste-based discrimination in Bihar has permeated a government-run higher secondary school so deeply that its students have been made to sit in separate classrooms demarcated along caste lines for the past four years.
Authorities of Bihar’s education department were unaware of the regressive practice being followed at the GA Higher Secondary (Plus 2) School at Lalganj in Vaishali district so far. After the matter came to light following a recent inquiry by officials, a shocked state government ordered an inquiry on Tuesday.
While all students of the school usually come to the institute together and leave the premises together, they are made to sit in different classrooms as per their castes and religions according to a system followed for the past four years, said sources. Students from Dalit and Muslim communities are reportedly never allowed to visit other classrooms.
There are also separate sections and rooms for students belonging to Hindu and Muslim communities at the school, said sources. Similarly, separate classrooms have also been allotted for students of each class belonging to the upper castes, OBCs and Dalits. The school also uses separate attendance registers for different social groups of the students.
“An inspection of the school made it clear that such a system indeed prevails there. We are sending a detailed report to the district education officer for instructions on suitable action on the matter,” said Arvind Kumar Tiwari, the Block Education officer (BEO) of Lalganj.
School headmistress Meena Kumari, however, claimed that the social segregation of students has been proving useful in many ways. “This system is in place in order to facilitate a smooth educational process and also to ensure that the execution of government schemes becomes easier. There is no discrimination on the basis of caste or religion,” she said.
“There have been no negative effects of this system at the school so far. Besides, there has never been a complaint against this system, which is running smoothly,” argued the headmistress.
Bihar education minister Krishna Nandan Prasad Verma expressed shock upon learning of the segregation of students along caste and religious lines at a government-run school.
“It is very unfortunate if it is really happening. I have ordered a thorough investigation of the matter. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against whoever is found responsible for it,” he added.