DHUBRI, April 5: As many as three Gram Panchayats (GP) of Dhubri district, located in a distant char area (river island), are still deprived of a high school.
The Fulkakata, Muthakhowa and Pochar Char Gram Panchayats, covering an area comprising 40 villages with a population of at least 50,000 people, are located in a char area with boats being the only mode of communication during the flood season for students to go to the nearest high school at Dhubri town, which is 20 to 25 km away. During the dry season, too, the students have to struggle immensely to travel through the sandy terrain on horse-carts or on foot.
Locals say that the Fulkakata GP has 10 LP schools, the Muthakhowa GP has nine LP schools and one ME school, while in the Pochar Char GP there are 14 LP schools, three ME schools and one MV school. To complete their education till Class X, students have to travel to Dhubri town.
“Leave graduates, in these GPs, even the number of matriculates can be counted on one hand. And, I doubt whether we will find at least one girl who has completed her Class X education,” said AS Rakunuz Zaman, a private school teacher from this area, who lives in Dhubri to earn his livelihood.
He added, “One cannot imagine the hardship the students here have to undergo... Only a few blessed ones, who can afford to stay in hostels or have relatives in the town area, have completed their schooling.”
Jahanuddin Sarkar, a senior citizen from this area, stated, “The lack of educational institutes is the only reason why the percentage of child marriage in this area is so high.” As the families are uneducated, they do not allow their children, specially the girls, to travel to Dhubri to complete their schooling and they also do not allow their children to live alone in a hostel or a mess, he explained.
“The boys, as soon as they attain teen age, are sent to Guwahati and other parts of the Northeast to work, and the girls are simply married off,” Sarkar stated.
“We have hundreds of unresolved issues. We do not have proper roads at all. We do not have any medical facilities here and crimes along the border are high. Yet, we can adjust with this kind of an environment. What we need the most right now is a high school – at least one high school for all these three GPs will be enough for now,” said Azhar Ali, a local youth.