AURANGABAD: For the last two years, the children of Dattawadi and Ramnagar Vasti in Vaijapur taluka have to undertake an arduous task each day to seek education. They wake up early to trek for over an hour to cover a 4-km distance, before they make it to the nearest school. Often they have to wade through waterlogged areas during monsoon.
This has been the norm ever since the Aurangabad zilla parishad closed down the only school catering to class 1 to IV in their vicinity abruptly some two years back. Citing low strength of students, the Aurangabad district ZP education officials said the school had to be closed.
The ZP school, located in Golwadi village in Vaijapur taluka, is the only option for children staying in Dattawadi and Ramnagar villages. And the distance is compelling most students to remain devoid of education. While around 50 students continue their trek to education, around 30 others have dropped out.
Local villagers here say that about 30 to 40 children stay away from education every year, because of poor transport and parents fearing for their safety. Parents said they had discussed their difficulties several times with the education officers and other authorities, but in vain.
"Our children have to wade through water and maneuver pathetic roads to reach school. A letter requesting for a bus facility or to re-start the school at Dattawadi had been submitted to the ZP education officer long back. But this year too two months on after the academic year started, no concrete step has been initiated yet," said Rajendra Suryavanshi, who is scared to send his six-year-old daughter to a school located 4 km away.
Another parent Babasaheb Shinde, whose daughter studies in class I, said, "During rainy season, it is not possible for our children to go walking to the school. Parents have to pick and drop their children everyday, making their work suffer. Moreover, the kids have to wake up early in the morning and start for school an hour earlier. During winter as it gets dark early, it feels rather unsafe."
The parents alleged that the education officers have been violating RTE norms and causing inconvenience to students.
The ZP deputy education officer, M K Deshmukh, said that earlier the school was started in a building which was built incurring Rs 10 lakh expenditure. But since the strength of students declined the department decided to close down the school. "Now with recommendations pouring in from parents, we have ordered the block education officer to review the situation and present a report in this regard," said Deshmukh.
He also said that according to Right To Education (RTE) Act, if no school exists within 1 km distance from the village then a school should be started or transportation should be made available to students.
Confirming that no school exists within 1 km distance from Dattawadi and Ramnagar village, the Vaijapur block education officer, S F Shirude, said, "Around 50 students trek their way to exercise their right to education."
Accepting that no transport facility has been made available, Shirude said a review report would be sent in two days to the ZP education officer requesting to re-start the school from class I to IV immediately.