Taking advantage of people’s helplessness due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown, both the central and the state governments have been on a spree to destroy education in every respect-whether it is curriculum, duration of the course, system of teaching or method of examination. Now, because of the pandemic, educational Institutions are closed for more than one year and a half. Moreover, a large number of students from the poor families are unable to avail of online teaching because they cannot afford to buy a smartphone.
The pandemic situation is persisting with periodical ups and downs in intensity because of a fractured healthcare system and flawed vaccine policy of the central government. But the common students are paying the price of anti-education anti-people policies of a pro-corporate inhuman bourgeois governments. Hence, education has virtually come to a standstill. Though the governments are opening hotels, restaurants, bars, gyms, beauty parlours and cinema halls, they are averse to open the schools by ensuring all necessary precautions. Even the guardians are forced to pay fees including various charges other than tuition fees. Alongside, they demanded students’ concession in all kinds of mass transport. So, students, teachers and guardians have been demanding for opening up the educational institutions. West Bengal under a TMC government is no exception. West Bengal State AIDSO had long proposed to the government to work out a plan involving students, teachers and guardians’ representatives to open the schools and colleges with due expediency.
But the government did not respond. So, apart from raising the demand to waive off all kinds of fees, refund of fees already paid and asking the government to bear the financial responsibility of the institutions, AIDSO also pressed for opening of the educational institutions. In different districts AIDSO organized gherao, demonstration, deputation and other forms of militant movements to realize the jut demands. AIDSO state leadership called a statewide symbolic road block programme on 26 July 2021. In this peaceful and symbolic road block programme, the police of the TMC- led state government launched brutal assault on the agitating students including girl students in Kolkata, Bankura, Contai (East Medinipur) and other places, and arrested more than hundred students including girl students and examinees. Police filed non-bailable cases against 11 AIDSO activists including Bankura district president and secretary. Four of the arrested were denied medicine and clothes in the jail custody. This inhuman behaviour of the police vehemently condemned by one to all. The students of the entire state under the leadership of AIDSO came on the streets, organised massive campaigns and demonstrations on 30 and 31 July. Again on 31 July, the police ruthlessly lathi-charged on the peaceful demonstrative programme near Calcutta university and 38 activists of AIDSO including state president Comrade Samsul Alam were arrested. Finally, under pressure of growing people’s opinion against such brutality, and the staunch pleading by a large number of advocates of the Bankura district court, the state administration was compelled to accept granting of bail of the 11 AIDSO activists.
Forced by the movement, the state government issued circulars to all district administrations to issue circular asking the schools not to charge any excess fees and refund such fees already received. This has been a significant victory of the students’ movement spearheaded by the AIDSO and proved once again that a united legitimate movement for a just cause and under a correct revolutionary organization makes even the unwilling bourgeois government to bend.