Call for a unified primary and upper primary education in the country gained momentum with social activists in Varanasi launching a signature campaign.
The activists also sought abolition of the private education system. They advocated for individual state boards, managed by the government, across the country under which students in the primary (1-5) and upper primary section (class five to 8) would receive common education.
This, they said, would improve education standard at government-run-primary schools besides providing a level-playing field for students from various background.
There are 2.43 lakh government run schools, including primary and upper primary both in Uttar Pradesh.
However, when questioned about the future of students once they passed class 8, the activists said the matter would be looked into once the ‘one India, one education system’ is implemented.
Leading the campaign, social activist Dhananjay Tripathi said, “The national signature campaign commenced from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) gate on July 5. It is aimed at drawing the attention of government authorities towards the need for a single education system in the country.”
On the lines of ‘one nation, one tax (GST)’, there is an urgent need to implement ‘one India, one education’ system wherein it should be mandatory for all government authorities and public representatives to enrol their children in government primary schools, Tripathi and other activists said.
They also referred to the Allahabad high court order of August 2015 wherein it had instructed the chief secretary to ensure government employees, officials, people’s representatives and those in judiciary send their children to government schools.
The activists called the decision historic and said two years had passed since the order was given and yet nothing was done. “The state government must ensure implementation of the order and come out with a plan for ‘one India, one education’ system,” they said.
“At present there are two education systems: private and public. There is a sea of difference between the two as far as quality of education is concerned. It is an open secret that private schools are identified for imparting quality education while the quality is poor at government-run primary and upper primary schools. By implementing ‘one nation, one education’ system, the differences can be reduced to a great extent,” Tripathi said.
On Friday, as part of their ongoing signature campaign, the social activists took out a procession at the BHU gate, Assi ghat, Dashashwamedh ghat and other areas of the city. They appealed people to join the signature campaign to create pressure on the government for implementation of the single education system across the country.
The group driving the campaign comprises 25 activists of which 15 are BHU students. The first phase of the ongoing campaign in July will cover eastern UP districts including Varanasi. Thereafter the campaign will be launched in other parts of the state from August 1. The activists are associated with joint action committee and right to education campaign, UP.
Some of the activists included Tripathi, Ekta Shekar, Vallabhacharya Pandey, Vikas Singh, Mukesh Upadhyay and Priyesh Pandey among others.