As a district, Dhemaji does not have many things going for it. It is situated far away from the centre of power in Dispur. Many government welfare schemes do not reach the district. Year after year, it bears the heaviest brunt of flood and erosion damage. Vast swathes of its land have become uncultivable due to thick sand deposits left behind by rivers. The rail line through the district remains a work in progress; bicycles are still the trusty means to negotiate dirt tracks masquerading as roads. But when the State class 10 and class 12 examition results come out, Dhemaji keeps getting into the news for the right reasons. This year too, HSLC results brought cheer to Dhemaji with the highest pass percentage of 74.06 among districts, along with three of its students in the rank-holders list. The higher secondary results were even better, with 94.76 percent students in Arts, 95.89 percent in Science and 98.12 percent in Commerce streams from Dhemaji clearing the hurdle. In a district with little State support, where eking out a livelihood is a daunting proposition for most people, such results provide food for thought. What is clicking for Dhemaji? Reports from the ground paint a surprisingly positive picture. It is of a society which values education above everything else, about elders willing to make great sacrifices to further the cause of their children’s education. Community support to teachers gives them the exalted status, which in turn fires their commitment to shoulder extra responsibilities beyond regular working hours. Many schools in Dhemaji, whether of government or of private groups, are centers of activity and full of life. And the linkage between teachers and pupils extend beyond the school to homes. In the average household, senior members keep tabs on how juniors are faring, passing along books and helping out with lessons. Such a milieu ensures that book learning is supplemented with the right values and work ethic. So there is no magic recipe, no secret ingredient. Any other society or institution will get the same results as Dhemaji, if only their energies revolve around education.
food for thought