Pardeep Singh Dardi
FROM GANDERBAL, Apr 8: While young IAS officer Shah Faisal, Director School Education (DSE) Kashmir is writing interesting posts on the facebook, tin-shed near a stone-crusher houses middle school in Frew village of once high profile Ganderbal constituency.
Lack of infrastructure and unhealthy environment at this Government Middle School in village Fraw of Ganderbal district negates government’s tall claim of having giving fillip to education sector in Jammu and Kashmir. Belying tall claims of the government of providing quality infrastructure and education to students, middle school Fraw has been functioning in a makeshift tin-shed.
The school is adjacent to a stone crusher along the Srinagar-Leh Highway for the past several decades. In the absence of infrastructure, over 70 students are forced to study under open sky despite bone chilling winters and burning summers. “Students study under open sky and face lot of problems. Here we have no availability of wash rooms, no library, besides no office,” said teachers, wishing anonymity.
“Upgraded as middle school in the year 2004, the school was established in 1950. The school continues to function in the tin-shed which is located nearby stone crusher plant along the Leh highway, thus posing serious hazards to the health of students as well as staff,” the teacher said and added after intervention of media the government took some initiative, but the work of infrastructure halted mid way and since last one year no development has been made.
The villagers complained that they had sought intervention of the concerned ministry in this regard and have requested the government to shift the school to some better spot.
“The location of the school has been gradually turned into perilous, as at the time of its establishment, there were hardly any road, but eventually national highway has been developed and a stone crusher plant is also installed near the school, which is not good for the students’ health,” said villagers adding that in the presence of vehicular movement and noise from crusher, the students cannot concentrate on the studies.
Meanwhile, a teacher said that even they cannot impart studies in such an environment, where on one side you have vehicular movement and on the other side stone crusher.
“We give our best to teach students, but environmental concerns distract us, like bitter cold, soaring heat, smoke emanating from stone crusher and noise of vehicles makes it difficult for us to teach,” said a teacher Khursheed Ahmad and added that with the help of locals, four tin sheds were created for 70 students. However, despite repeated attempts, Zonal Education Officer Hariganiwan-Abdul Rahim Magray was not contacted.
From BHADERWAH, Apr 8: A few kilometers from Bhaderwah town, a Government High School is functioning in three congested rooms 350 students.
And if rains, paucity of space forces the school administration to send some children on leave. In normal circumstances, the students have no option but to sit on the mats outside the classrooms. Belonging to extremely poor families, these children bear testimony to the fact that state has virtually no policy for educating poor and downtrodden students.
Such is the state of affairs that the rooms are being used for teaching as well as official purpose. Located in village Thanala on Bhaderwah-Chamba road, this school was opened under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Norms suggest that care should be taken of maintaining a decent pupil-teacher ratio but in this school, this ratio is 1:50 i.e. 1 teacher for 50 students.
According to the staff of the school, more than 100 students are enrolled from 8th to 10th class in the school every year. They added that the three rooms are largely meant for housing students from classes 8th to 10th. They further said that as per board norms, the accommodation for each student from Class I- 10 should be around 9 square feet of floor space while there should be only 45 students in the class.
However, in this school, no such norm applies. Locals further said that three years back, a double story building was sanctioned for construction of High School building but for the reasons best known to the authorities, work is yet to be started. They added that the village has been ignored since ages and no government has ever bothered to look into our needs and demands.
“If it rain, we are sent home since we have just three congested rooms. And when the sun shines brightly taking the day temperature up, we have no option but to rush back home,” said a student of this school. An on-spot visit is enough to explain the deficiencies that this school faces
There is no playground, no washroom for teachers, no bathroom for children, said a teacher while adding that neither the students are able to concentrate, nor are they able to teach them properly. The school has no toilet facility for girl students. The school has no infrastructure, no desk facilities or any other facility except dirty mats for sitting.
In the absence of road connectivity, children have to walk long distances to reach school in hope of a better future but the shortage of teaching staff and class rooms and other infrastructure is hurting them badly. People in this village say that the government has both land and funds for raising parks and gardens, and construction of community halls, government offices, shopping complexes and malls but when it comes to construction of school buildings, it has neither land nor funds.