April 2006:During the Village Planning Exercise in November 2005 in Sunaura Village in the Lalitpur district of the state of Uttar Pradesh, one of the major issues that surfaced was the poor quality of education being imparted in the primary school. The teacher was invariably late for lessons and the school remained closed at least 15 days in a month. Even when present, the teacher would sleep instead of teaching. A total of 102 children are enrolled in the primary school in Sunaura, which has two teachers (one attached at the ABSA [Assistant Basic Shiksha Adhikari] office for other responsibilities), one classroom, one verandah and a spare classroom not in use. The AWC (Anganwadi Centre) also functions in the school premises though the position of AWW (Anganwadi Worker) is still vacant.
About 18 children led by the Children Council, formed by Sarathi Development Foundation, together with the support of the village elders demanded that a teacher be appointed in their school.
During the Village Action Plan meeting it was decided that the villagers would submit an application to the ABSA demanding a new teacher. Accordingly, an application signed by the villagers was submitted before the ABSA in the month of December. However, no action was taken on the issue for three months. The village planning facilitators (Amit and his team) again organized a meeting in the village. They first motivated the children and then discussed their plan of action with the village elders. About18 children led by the Children Council, formed by Sarathi Development Foundation, together with the support of the village elders drove up to Talbehat to meet the ABSA and demanded that a teacher be appointed in their school.
At the ABSA office, a teachers’ training programme was in session and the children were allowed to speak before approximately 40 teachers of Talbehat block. The children narrated the problems they were facing due to lack of a motivated teacher and how they just sit in the class all day without learning anything, spending the entire academic year without even completing one note book. The ABSA, moved by the children’s plea, promised that a teacher would be appointed in their school by 1st April 2006. If he fails to find a teacher by then, he promised to start teaching the class himself.