Barely a month after the infamous ‘toppers scam’ in Bihar became an embarrassment for the Nitish Kumar-led Grand Secular Alliance government, another shocking revelation illustrates the decay in Bihar’s education system.
A report by The Indian Express has claimed that of the 25 institutions it surveyed in eight districts of Bihar, one plus-two school in Vaishali was home to a three-member family, while another in Muzaffarpur has 844 students enrolled on paper but only two were present on a working day.
Shockingly, an inter-college in the Motinagar town of Muzaffarpur district had four tin-roofed rooms with their doors locked and a dusty, unplastered verandah. A glance through the window of one of the rooms, which was labelled as a classroom, showed that there was no desk or bench, the report said.
The report further states that the local residents said that they had never seen a student or teacher in the so-called ‘inter-college’, owned by Santosh Kumar Singh, a lawyer. The college was granted affiliation by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) for the 2016-18 season.
“I have never seen a single student or teacher here. I can’t imagine that the Bihar government has not seen through such fraud despite the prominent location of this structure near the National Highway,” Keshav Kumar Rai, a resident of the neighbouring Marsandi village, was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.
Similar conditions were witnessed at the Raghunath Sah Inter College at Harchanda village which was inaugurated on May 25, 2015.
While the college was granted affiliation by the BSEB in 2016, there was hardly any sign to show that the college was functional.
The 1400 sq-ft vast compound of the college had no fences and all the seven rooms, marked as classrooms, laboratory, principal’s office and staff room, were locked.
“This is just a centre for students to fill up their Class XII exam forms and get their certificates,” said a resident of the village.
Interestingly, the Raghunath Sah Inter College is owned by Sujit Kumar, a Muzaffarpur-based leader of the ruling JD(U) party.
“The Harchanda school is one of the six we are inspecting. Our district programme officer will soon visit these schools and submit a report on its infrastructure, number of students and teachers,” said Muzaffarpur district education officer S K Nath.
On the other hand, Balaji Inter Mahavidyalaya in Panapur village shows an uglier face of the putrefying education system of Bihar.
According to the BSEB records, the college enrolled 844 students for the 2015-17 session that included 384 who opted for arts, 310 for science and 150 for commerce.
However, on a working day, only two girls in the commerce section and eight non-teaching staff were present.
“I stay 20 km away and don’t attend classes regularly because my family cannot afford the daily transportation cost (around Rs 40),” said Shivani Kumar, one of those two students.
When asked about why she chose this college, she said, “It’s in the vicinity and my parents said the commerce course was good for learning to handle accounts.”
Ranjay Kumar, the head clerk, who also claimed to be one of the founding members of the college, claimed that the college had “good results” in 2016 – 281 failures in arts, 56 in science and 48 in commerce.