This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Abhimanyu. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why This BHU Professor Is Demanding That Govt. Babus Send Their Kids To Govt. Schools

More from Abhimanyu

By Abhimanyu:

Dr. Sandeep Pandey is a well-known Gandhian socialist leader and a Ramon Magsaysay award-winning scholar. Recently, he was sacked by Banaras Hindu University for being an alleged Naxal supporter among other things but the Allahabad High Court has reinstated him.

He is currently sitting on an indefinite hunger strike protesting the non-implementation of an order of the Allahabad High Court issued last year in August.

On August 18, 2015, Allahabad High Court gave a landmark decision on making government schooling mandatory for the children of government employees and elected representatives. This was expected to be effective from the new academic session 2016-2017. However, that has not taken place.

Sandeep Pandey
Sandeep Pandey. Source: Yasbant Negi/Getty

Pandey is on strike in Lucknow. He has met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in this regard, as he told us, but no conclusive agreement has been reached. This is the 11th day of his strike. YKA spoke to him regarding his concerns. Here are some edited excerpts.

1. What is your view on the Allahabad High Court order?

It will revolutionise the Indian school system. It will magically transform the quality of government schools overnight, when the children of those responsible for running these schools, will study in these schools. They will then have a stake in improving its quality. And this will not take time. When (the) District Magistrate’s child will go to a government school, the quality of teaching and infrastructure will improve instantly. It’ll have two benefits. Children of poor will get a good education for the first time in their lives. A report says 90 percent of children of poor, even after completing class IV, remain illiterate. Moreover, the middle class will save money on sending their children to private schools.

2. How do you see the schooling system in India?

It is a failure. ‘Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act,’ 2009 is in place in India but education is neither free nor compulsory. People who can afford have to spend enormous amounts in sending their children to school. The lower middle class and even the poor who can afford it are now sending their children to private schools. This is an unnecessary burden on parents. Children of poor, who constitute 90 percent of school-going children, attend schools where there is no teaching. 50 percent children drop out around class VII. Those who are able to continue have to indulge in cheating to pass their Board examinations. By making a compulsory payment of Rs. 5000, one can pass the Class X examination of the U.P. Board and by paying double the amount, you can have somebody else write the examination for you. A large number of children are still engaged in child labour who never see the inside of a school. It is a mockery of the ‘compulsory’ part in the Act. Can the country progress on the basis of this kind of farcical education system?

3. Are you totally against private education? Please specify.

Yes. Wherever in the world 99-100 (percent) literacy rates have been achieved, it has been through the Common School System, with the inherent concept of a neighbourhood school. Common School System is the responsibility of the government. In 1968, Kothari Commission recommended the implementation of the Common School System in India.

However, progressive governments have ignored this recommendation. The RTE Act, which was passed during the Manmohan Singh government, provides for the education of up to 25 percent children from disadvantaged and weaker sections in private schools. But that is hugely inadequate. We must learn from Sri Lanka’s experience. It has a literacy rate of 92% and private schools are banned in Sri Lanka.

4. Why is the government unable to find a solution despite having the court order?

There is huge resistance from the bureaucrats. They want special ‘sanskriti‘ schools for their children. They want to take the education system in a direction opposite to what the High Court order intends. When the HC order came, the Basic Education Minister in UP, Ram Govind Chaudhary got his grand-daughter admitted to a government school and wrote a letter to IAS officers to consider sending their children to government schools. He was removed as Basic Education Minister and replaced by a retired IPS officer-turned-politician Ahmed Hasan. One can imagine the power of IAS lobby. But there are good IAS officers too. S. Ministhy, originally from Kerala now in the UP cadre, sends her children to Kendriya Vidayala in spite of having the option of sending her children to any of the elite schools in Lucknow, as her colleagues do.

5. What is the immediate reason for your protest? Will it get the attention of the mainstream media?

The HC order was to be implemented within six months of its pronouncement on August​ 18, ​2015 and the government was ordered to file a compliance report at the end of six months. The order was to be implemented from the beginning of the academic year 2016-17. The U.P. government has done nothing. In my meeting with the CM on June 8, he has now ordered the Secretary, Basic Education to study the HC order. This shows the lackadaisical attitude of the government. The immediate reason for my sitting on fast was that the admission period for academic session 2016-17 is coming to an end in July. Once it is over, the government will have an excuse that it’ll implement the HC order only next year. I did not want the government to escape from fulfilling its responsibility in such an important matter. I’m slightly disappointed with mainstream media coverage but I also realise I’ve not been able to convert this into a mass movement.

6. What kind of suggestions you would like to give the government, so it can implement the court order effectively?

Make it necessary as a service condition in the government that employees will have to send their children to government schools. It is not a fundamental right of anybody to send their children to a school of their choice. Like Justice Sudhir Agarwal (who passed the August 2015 order) said, if anybody benefiting from the government decides to send their children to private school, they should be penalised and asked to submit an amount equal to what they spend in private schools in the government’s account.

Moreover, they should also suffer in terms of losing increment and promotion.

The Socialist Party (India), with which I’m associated, has taken a stand that only people who have studied in government schools should be eligible for government jobs or for contesting elections at any level in this country. Moreover, their children should also study in government schools. In fact, this idea should be extended to health care sector also. People receiving government salaries should go only to government hospitals for their own treatment as well treatment of family members dependent on them. Privatisation in the field of education and health care should be ceased by the government by taking over all private educational and health care institutions.

You must be to comment.
  1. Faizan Ahmad

    Hey that was really inspirational.ofcourse Indian education system needs to be improve.We have become tired of such a rotten system.Despite,being indepent we are still a slave. We need to break that sterotype.

  2. Faizan Ahmad

    Hatsoff#youthkiawaz

More from Abhimanyu

Similar Posts

By RAAZ DHEERAJ SHARMA✍️

By Yash Johri

By Accountability Initiative

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below