News & Information From Northeast India

‘The apathy of Assam govt towards Bodo medium schools continues’

It was a moment of celebration for the people of Assam when chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal formally distributed appointment letters to 6,172 TET-qualified teachers for elementary schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) at the Veterinary College Playground, Khanapara on Sunday.

It was another landmark step towards improving the quality of education in the state. But the state government would have least expected that All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) would sternly oppose the appointment of TET qualified teachers in Sonitpur district.

Why is the All Bodo Students’ Union opposing the appointment of TET qualified teachers in Sonitpur district of Assam?

The leaders of All Bodo Students’ Union argued that Assamese medium TET qualified teachers who cannot speak nor write in Bodo language were appointed as teachers in elementary schools in Sonitpur district. The state government released a school wise posting of 6172 assistant teachers under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) on 1st of September. Altogether 48 Assamese medium TET qualified teachers were appointed as elementary teachers for Bodo medium schools in three education blocks viz. Dhekiajuli, Gabharu, and Balipara of Sonitpur District. All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) strongly reacted against this decision by the state government and termed it as a deliberate act of negligence and conspiracy to destroy Bodo medium schools in Assam.

Meanwhile, on Friday, ABSU brought out a massive protest torch light rally at Kokrajhar town in the evening against the discriminatory attitude of the government of Assam towards Bodo medium schools in Assam. The leaders of ABSU demanded that the state government should immediately withdraw the appointment of Non-Assamese medium background teachers in Bodo medium schools and they should freshly appoint teachers from Bodo medium background in these schools.

The Bodo language was introduced as the medium of instruction in the primary schools of Assam in 1963. Initially, Bodo language was introduced in the primary schools of the Kokrajhar sub-division of Lower Assam. Gradually this was extended to other districts of the state and began to be introduced in the higher classes. Subsequently, in 1967 Bodo was introduced in middle schools as a medium of instruction. In the same way, Bodo language was introduced in the secondary level as a medium of instruction.

Bodo was also recognized as an associate state official language in 1984 through the ordinance by the governor of Assam, which was translated into a state law by passing a bill on the same by the Assam Assembly in May’ 1985.

In 2003, Bodo language was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution through the Ninety-second Amendment of the Constitution of India.

Despite all these constitutional provisions by the central and the state governments, Bodo language has never got its due share of importance and it has continually been neglected by the successive governments. Bodo medium schools in the state still face a host of problems ranging from acute shortage of textbooks to single teachers being forced to run an entire school. It is need of the hour that the state government should take necessary steps to improve the quality of Bodo medium schools in the state to improve the overall education scenario in Assam.

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