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UP’s Dalit Pathshalas: Here poor, marginalised students get free coaching

By oneindia staff

Lucknow, April 18: These are definitely unique pathshalas or schools in Uttar Pradesh where children of Dalits are getting free coaching. First started in Saharanpur in 2015, today at least 1,000 such coaching centres are providing free education to poor and marginalised children across the state.

The main reason behind starting the pathshala is lack of facilities in government-run schools, stated a report by ANI. Uttar Pradesh's Bhim Army Pathshalas, started by the Bhim Army, a socio-political organisation behind "new wave" Dalit movement in the country, also teach children about the Dalit struggle and history.

students at bhim army pathshalas

"Bhim Army Pathshalas, introduced in #Saharanpur with the aim of providing free coaching to Dalit children in view of lack of facilities in govt schools, now spread across #UttarPradesh with nearly 1,000 such classes. Students are also being taught about Dalit struggle and history," tweeted ANI.

Talking about the coaching centres, Saharanpur district president of the Bhim Army, Kamal Singh Walia, told ANI, "The parents of Dalit children can't afford coaching for them. Lack of facilities in government schools is known to all. So officials of the Bhim Army decided to open Bhim pathshalas on July 21, 2015. Educated members of the Bhim Army run the schools."

The Bhim Army, a little-known Dalit organisation till last year, hit the headlines after caste conflict broke out in Saharanpur in 2017. The founder of the group, Chandrashekhar, is currently lodged in a jail after he was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh under the National Security Act (NSA) last year.

"In spite of the controversies surrounding the organisation, the Bhim Army's initiative to educate Dalit children is laudable," stated a child rights activist.

All the teachers who teach children in these coaching centres don't charge any money and do it on a voluntary basis. The children attend classes at the coaching centres after their school hours.

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