BY TC News Desk
Agartala, September 15: Protests erupted on Friday as members of the Youth Congress and the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) converged on Shiksha Bhavan, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the contentious Vidyajyoti scheme. The state government’s education initiative, dubbed the Vidyajyoti project, has come under intense scrutiny, with accusations of adverse impacts on students.
Youth and student organizations affiliated with the Congress have alleged that the state government’s use of the Vidyajyoti project as an umbrella term conceals an education system that is causing hardship for students. In response to these concerns, they have mobilized in protest against the Vidyajyoti project.
Critics have singled out Ratanlal Nath, the Education Minister during the BJP-led government’s tenure since 2018, as presiding over an era of decline in the state’s education system. Nath’s decision to incorporate 100 century-old schools into the Vidyajyoti scheme has drawn particular ire. Despite the government’s claims that this move aimed to enhance the state’s education quality, allegations of behind-the-scenes financial exploitation of these schools, through the imposition of additional fees, have emerged. Furthermore, there are growing concerns that these schools lack essential educational infrastructure.
A pivotal issue highlighted by protesters is the severe shortage of teachers in these schools. Notably, the government has authorized the collection of fees ranging from Rs. 2500 to Rs. 3000 from students appearing for secondary and higher secondary exams. The Pradesh Youth Congress and NSUI have strongly condemned this fee imposition on ordinary schools as detrimental to students’ interests.
The demands for immediate cancellation of the Vidyajyoti project have been made in the past, but these pleas seemingly went unanswered by the relevant authorities. Consequently, the protesters have vowed to sustain their movement until the government and the education department extricate themselves from what they describe as a controversial and burdensome project. They argue that education is the cornerstone of the nation and should not be subject to political or financial manipulation. This siege on education policy has been ongoing for an extended period, reflecting the deep-seated concerns surrounding the Vidyajyoti scheme.