All government secondary schools in Assam will soon be declared tobacco free zones by the State Education Department.
The mission to make schools tobacco-free in the State is being pursued by Healis Seksaria Institute for Public Health, Education Department and Dr B Barooah Cancer Institute, in association with Tata Trusts.
There are 4,316 government secondary schools in the State and out of these, all secondary schools in the districts of Lakhimpur, Baksa, Tinsukia, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Golaghat, Goalpara and Bongaigaon have been reported to be Tobacco Free Educational Institutions (TFEI), as per the submissions made by school inspectors to the Secondary Education Department (Rastriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan).
Secretary for Secondary Education R C Jain said, ‘Educational institutes must be tobacco-free to ensure an atmosphere for imparting quality education. Other districts are also working towards achieving this goal and the endeavor will enable us save the future generations from the deadly clutches of tobacco addiction.’
Jain had launched the mission by issuing instructions on April 26 this year to all school inspectors and it included a set of questions for the school principals who have now started sending declarations that their institutes are tobacco-free, which are being forwarded to the RMSA office.
Number of Tobacco Free Schools
As many as 78 secondary schools in Bongaigaon, 189 in Baksa, 79 in Udalguri, 197 in Sonitpur and 120 in Goalpara have been declared tobacco-free zones. The school inspector of Lakhimpur district, Prasanta Bora, said all 302 secondary schools in the district have enforced TFEI in its entirety.
Sharing the credit with his entire team for this achievement, Bora pointed that all schools receive an annual grant of Rs 75,000. On an average, 140 children start tobacco consumption on a daily basis in the State. The national average is 5500 children per day. As many as 39.4% people in Assam are addicted to tobacco.