Charwaha Vidyalaya: Interesting but failed..!

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The charwaha vidyalaya scheme was launched by Chief Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav in December, 1991, with much fanfare. The project was even appreciated by UNICEF and was quickly adopted by Central schemes like TRYSEM, Indira Awas Yojana, IRDP-RLGEP and ICDS.
It aimed to impart basic education to children of poor peasants who supplemented their parents’ meagre income by cattle-herding, “Earn while you learn” was the attraction. The concept envisaged that children bring their herd and learn while the animals grazed in the fields attach-ed to the schools.- Laloo Yadav’s dream flounders, Abhijit Sinha, The Pioneer, 22/01/95,

Little has changed around it. Charwahas or cattle grazers still come here in large groups and spend their time on the campus as the cattle graze.

They hardly have any time to look at the building that was once conceptualised as the Charwaha Vidyalaya – Lalu Prasad’s dream project to provide education to underprivileged children.

Musahid (11), a Class VI student of a government school a few kilometres away, said: “I used to study here when I was in Class II. Then, the teachers stopped coming. So the students too dropped out. I was out of school for nearly a year. Then, my father admitted me to the government school.”

A villager said the school provided education to children from families with scanty income. It incorporated the system of “earn while you learn” by allowing the children to tend to the flocks that they brought out for grazing, while attending classes.

Local resident Mansari Devi said: “The school was running fine. Children used to come with their cattle and while the cattle grazed, they used to attend classes. We felt it was a good move. Then the teachers stopped coming suddenly and the school closed down.”

Neither Devi nor her companions who come to the field for evening walks have any clue why the school suddenly closed down.

Devi said: “We do not know why it closed down but we want it to be revived.”

One of her companions said it is being said this is the last chance for Lalu to become the chief minister but the school never really got a second chance.

Nandu Ram (8) said: “My father does not have a regular job and earns very little. I have five brothers and three sisters. What can I do? I have to work.”

The Charwaha Vidyalaya in a shambles

Ram tends to the cattle of some well-to-do families of Harsen Moganpur village.

He said: “I earn about Rs 10 from the each of the four families I work for. Kya karoon? Kaam toh karna hi parega! (What can I do? I have to work) I cannot afford to go to school.”

He said: “If this school was functional, it would have been good for children like us.”

A local resident said the village is in Lalganj constituency, a stronghold of Munna Shukla, so the hopes of RJD-LJP alliance winning are dim here. Shukla is in prison and his wife Annu Shukla, who is contesting on a JD (U) ticket, is likely to win.

The manifesto of RJD–LJP mentions free and compulsory education for children but there is no mention for the revival plan of the Charwaha Vidyalaya.

One of the villagers said they have not seen much development under the present government and they are hopeful the school will be revived if Lalu is reinstated as the chief minister. However, Chintu (10) said he does not care. He said: “I do not know why this school closed down and I do not care. It would be good if it is revived.”

Chirag
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