No water, toilets, clean surroundings, or laboratories

No water, toilets, clean surroundings, or laboratories
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Sopore government schools lack even basic amenities

Sopore: Contradicting the claims by politicians and high officials school education department, several schools in areas around Sopore lack basic facilities. The infrastructure and teaching staff fall short of satisfying the basic requirements for primary and secondary level education standard.

The government boy’s high school in Hathlangoo village of Sopore was upgraded 5-years-ago from a middle school to a high school under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyhan. The infrastructure of the school, however, has since deteriorated rather than improving.

After a devastating fire in 2015, the school was moved to a new place where it now enrolls 165 students in 5 classes. The headmistress, Rifat Ara, who is holding the position temporarily, says that only ten teachers are available for instruction in the school.

“They provided us a smaller building, in which we have no laboratories, no toilets, and no electricity. We requested the concerned Chief Education Officer several times, but our pleas fell to deaf ears,” Rifat Ara said.

The school was established as a primary school way back to 60’s but it has been updated to higher standards without necessary facilities, she added.

“The headmaster post is vacant for the last three and a half years, which is a major problem as lot of administrative work is pending. But the education department doesn’t seem interested in filling the vacant position. We have to get our papers signed from DDO so that we can withdraw our salaries,” she said.

“It is ironical in a way that the Panchayat house near our school has every facility from toilets to fencing, but our school has been left at the mercy of few elements.”

Meanwhile, when Kashmir Reader contacted the contractor Bashir Ahmad of Watlab, who has the school building project, he said that 4,90,000 rupees were sanctioned for the school, which “I have already used for construction”. “When authorities release more money, I will restart my work,” he said.

Another government middle school in Sheer Colony in Sopore, which was upgraded from primary to a middle standard 12 years ago, is in equally sad state. According to headmaster Javid Ahmad Peer, the children studying in the school are industrious and have a thirst for knowledge, but the lack of infrastructure impedes their education.

He said that the location of the school, on the bank of river Jhelum, makes it dangerous for small kids. “Whenever there is rainfall, water assembles in our school ground and even seeps into the classrooms. The teaching routine gets affected because of it. Also, the lack of a proper road to the school makes it difficult for kids to reach the school. They have to climb a slope which is almost 20 feet high,” Peer said.

The government primary school in Warpora, a village near Sopore, was established in 2006 under SSA scheme. Since then it has been functioning in three small rooms. Its headmaster Mohd Ashraf said that the school has 112 students from nursery to Class 6, but has only six teachers.

“Most of the time we teach them in the small lawn outside and on the veranda. When it rains, we either have to teach in wet classrooms or have to keep the school closed till rain stops,” Mohd Ashraf said.

Since it was established, the Government Primary school Warpora has never seen any renovation or up-gradation and is in a dilapidated condition.

Mohd Ashraf says a plot of land from the common land adjacent to the school always remains filled with dirty rainwater and heaps of solid waste, especially polythene and plastic, which not only poses the threat of diseases but has also helped increase stray dog population in the school vicinity.

“It has made spending time in the school for teachers and students very challenging; we have to keep the windows and doors of classrooms closed,” a teacher said.

Mohd Ashraf said, “We left no stone unturned to apprise the higher authorities about the dilapidated condition of the school, but our requests have gone unattended.”

Abdul Ahad Gania, Chief Education Officer Baramulla, said that he took over the position three days back and is unaware of the situation. “I will look into this problem and take action,” he said.

 

 

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