The state is known in India for its poor track record in matters related to education and grapples with having the lowest literacy rate in the entire country, apart from scoring poorly in several human development indices as well.
Several instances of cheating in exams have often been reported from Bihar, and in one flabbergasting instance from 2015, parents helped their children cheat by climbing more than five floors of a building.
In the current move to expel the students, the state’s education department has warned students to mend their ways, reported The Telegraph India. It said that the students who have remained absent from public schools for more than 15 days at a stretch have been disenrolled, according to several reports.
And the number of expelled primary and secondary school students might just go up as the department continues to inspect schools across the state, with one of its officials claiming around 40,000 schools are being probed on a daily basis.
The decision to expel the students was taken by a senior education department official, KK Pathak.
Mr Pathak, the additional chief secretary of Bihar’s education department, also reportedly asked students’ parents to give an undertaking that they would attend the classes regularly.
The education department said the students would be “readmitted on the undertaking of their parents and their willingness to attend the classes regularly”.
“The number of students attending schools has substantially increased across the state. However, there are still around 10 per cent of schools where the attendance of students is still less than 50 per cent… It is a matter of serious concern,” he was quoted as saying by Free Press Journal.
“We have removed the names of around 3.32 lakh [332,000] students from the rolls of schools across the state,” the education department’s assistant director Ramesh Chandra was quoted as saying by The Telegraph India.
“They were absent for long periods and did not give an undertaking that they would attend the classes regularly. With around 40,000 schools being inspected on a daily basis, the number could increase further.”
Students, as per India’s education laws, cannot be expelled or denied admission based solely on their academic performance or attendance.
The country’s Right to Education (RTE) law mandates children between the ages of six and 14 years have a fundamental right to free and compulsory elementary education.
This means every child in this age group has the right to be admitted to and remain in an elementary school until the completion of their elementary education, regardless of their attendance record or academic performance.
Discussing the rationale for removing students’ names from the enrollment records, Mr Chandra claimed a significant number of students have enrolled in multiple schools with the aim of benefiting from various government schemes.
“Another factor behind removing the names from the rolls is that many students have taken admission in government and private schools at the same time. They attend classes in private schools,” Mr Chandra said.
There are over 85,000 primary, upper primary, secondary and senior secondary government schools in Bihar. At least 25 million students are currently enrolled in these schools.