21 June, 2021

Schools Of Scandal

23 tribal children trek to freedom...from the most brazen set of 'educationists'

Schools Of Scandal

IN February 13, when superintendent V.G. Gawli rolled out the customary call of attendance during the first meal break at 10.30 am, 23 children of the Shashkiya Ashramshala (Government Ashram School) at Raite village were found to be missing. By then, the children—13 boys and 10 girls between the ages of 10 and 13—were well into the first leg of an arduous trek to Nasik city, approximately 70 km away. Simmering in their young minds were truant teachers, a principal who used them as beasts of burden while shamelessly siphoning off rations meant for them and an inebriated guard who used them as punching bags.

"The previous night, the chowkidar, B.A. Bedade, beat up the younger children. We had complained about his behaviour to the headmaster several times but nothing ever happened. In the morning, when we were by the riverside, we decided that we had enough of all this. By 8 am, 23 of us set out for the Adivasi Vikas Bhawan in Nasik city," recounts Pandurang Lahare, a seventh standard student. Raite's School For Scandal was...

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