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By Chittaranjan Das

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The educated people of this country consider schools a middle passage, a stepping-stone. A high school has been established in our village since eleven years. Only one teacher from amongst the lot who joined at the time of the establishment of the school still continues there. Most of them have left the profession of teaching altogether. Of course, for primary teachers this facility of changing jobs at will is not available. Their level of education being low, they are condemned to this profession despite their disenchantment and lack of fulfilment.

Promulgating compulsory primary education in India is the goal which has been enshrined in our Constitution which was drafted six or seven years ago. In many civilized countries where people have the fortune of self-rule, compulsory primary education is the norm. England, Denmark and every other country where democracy is the form of governance, have envisaged eight years of compulsory primary education for each child. But they are not sitting on this laurel. For example, the Government of a country like the USA is working overtime to ensure that boys and girls up to eighteen years of age get an opportunity to pursue knowledge which is useful in their future life and that they are not assailed by the fear of fending for themselves.

One student’s presentation runs something like this: Where there is no fear, nor tears, nor a quest for knowledge confined within the four walls of an artificial room, where the teacher knows the students merely because of their name in the register. I imagine there is some new energy. The small brook which is like a rosary of the school has become the source of inspiration for another student. The spring seems to advise us today, ‘I have not balked at the huge stones on the way. You too go ahead without bothering about the catastrophes of life.

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