UP: 3 Months into New Session, Govt School Students Still Await Funds to Purchase Uniforms
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Lucknow: For the past three months, state government-run primary and upper primary school students have been attending classes without their school uniforms.
Despite the new academic session for government-run primary schools having commenced on April 1, the Yogi Adityanath-led government has thus far failed to transfer money to the accounts of students' parents in primary schools (classes I to V) and upper primary schools (classes VI to VIII) of the state. Meanwhile, the first term examinations are just a month away.
Virendra Mishra, the national spokesperson of Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM), a national-level outfit of primary school teachers, told NewsClick, "This situation is prevalent across the state. The parents of students have been waiting for the money that the government sends, but there is no news about it. However, students have received the books as Basic Shiksha Adhikari purchases books from publishers and distributes them accordingly."
In 2021, the state government declared that Rs 1,200 would be credited to the bank accounts of students' parents for the purchase of uniforms, including shirts, trousers (two sets), sweaters, shoes, socks, and a school bag. However, to date, lakhs of students across the state are still waiting for this transfer. There have been repeated reports stating that parents have time and again not received the money on time to purchase the required clothing.
In winter, students of state government-run primary schools are compelled to attend classes without sweaters, shoes, and socks due to the lack of funds. The majority of these children in the state belong to poor families and wear simple shirts and slippers to school, as previously reported by NewsClick.
Meanwhile, students in many government primary and upper primary schools across the state are still awaiting the arrival of their books. Despite the academic session starting in April, the new sets of books have not reached numerous schools, including in Lakhimpur, Bahraich, Sitapur, Ballia, and Azamgarh.
In the absence of new books, teachers are making use of a few old books that were given by last year's students, but most of them are torn. As a result, the teachers have no choice but to dictate notes until they receive the new sets of books, as reported by a teacher in Shravasti to NewsClick.
According to records from the basic education department, approximately 1.87 crore students are enrolled in 1.58 lakh primary and upper primary schools in Uttar Pradesh. The state government had set a deadline of April 30 for the department authorities and publishers to ensure the distribution of books among the students. However, the publishers failed to meet the deadline, and as a result, the students are suffering.
Santosh Maurya, the in-charge headmaster of a government school in Chikwanpurwa, under the Ishanagar block in Lakhimpur Kheri district, expressed his concerns to NewsClick. He said, "As soon as the session starts, when the children receive their uniforms, they are very excited. If the government provides the money on time, the parents can purchase the uniforms. However, due to the lack of uniforms, the children are hesitant to come to school." Maurya further added that the complete set of books has not yet arrived in the district.
Abhishek Tiwari, a member of the U.P. Primary Teachers' Association and an assistant teacher at a junior high school in Ghazipur, Sambhal district, expressed his observations, saying, "This has been happening ever since the government started sending money to the parents' accounts. Previously, when the school administration used to purchase the uniforms, we would deliver them to the children on time. However, now the parents do not buy the uniforms."
NewsClick also spoke to multiple students to understand the situation on the ground. Pooja and Khusboo, two of the students, expressed their disappointment as their parents did not receive the Rs 1,200 for clothing and stationery.
"Who doesn't want to go to school in a uniform? Who wants to go to school wearing old clothes? When we see other students in uniforms and with books from private schools in our village, we feel sad. But what can we do when we can't afford uniforms and other items? Our teachers have been telling us that the government will send the money very soon, but it has been almost three months since our session started. We even asked our fathers to go to the bank and check the balance to see if the government sent the money, but they returned empty-handed," they shared with NewsClick.
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