70 Students, 3 Teachers And a Single Classroom: A Sordid Saga of This Govt Primary School

One rented room and a shared lawn barely has any space to walk,even basic facilities are missing; there is no drinking water, no furniture for the students, nor fans.

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Junaid Manzoor

Srinagar, July 10 : The Government Primary School in Hamdania colony , Bemina (zone soibug) here in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district is running in one small room of a feeble rented accommodation with approximately 70 students on its rolls currently.

As there are nearly 70 students on roll for the six classes, the small school campus, which only comprises of one rented room and a shared lawn barely, has any space to walk. Even basic facilities are missing; there is no drinking water, no furniture for the students, nor fans.

The School was shifted in a rented housing in the year 2015 after the parents approached the authorities to make a separate building for their wards, as the school where it was put up earlier was at a fair distance for both students as well the parents. The school was then shifted according to the choice of the parents and initially they were provided with 3 rooms but with the passage of time as the funds dried up the landlord of the building asked the teachers to vacate the rooms further elevating the problems for students.

Apart from running a makeshift school in the building, tenets are also living there which further makes the atmosphere futile for a school to operate. “I have been living here since March this year, and I haven’t seen any school in such a mess in my entire life. Three teachers and all the students are crammed in a single room and to be honest none of the students can actually study when the room is crowded and noisy. There is no ground for them they eat either on the roadside or in the class only. The students are being provided with the uniform and study material but that is it,” narrates hameeda bano who lives in the same building.

Calling the teachers very humble and hardworking she (bano) says the teachers deserve appreciation in every way for handling the students in the best of their abilities. No other teacher would be able to handle such pressure. “There is one washroom in the whole building for the staff and the students that too in a very dilapidated condition. The foul smell is emanating from the toilet and it will only be stinkier as the temperature rises. I appeal the authorities to intervene on humanitarian basis at least and end their plight as we all have kids and no one would want their children to grow up in such an atmosphere,” bano added.

For her, it is the students and teachers passion for education that keeps the school running not the government or their pseudo funds.
“We don’t understand a word what the teacher says, no matter how hard we try to concentrate. It’s so noisy all the time. Plus there is only one washroom for boys and girls as well as other tenets that live here. We do get mid day meals but the space deficit campus only makes us feel miserable every single day. If we are provided with the building where we could actually have separate classrooms the output of a student would increase exponentially,” stated Aneesa a 4th class student.

A third-grader, Zeeshan complained that it is difficult to grasp what his teacher is saying. “I can’t concentrate on studies and mostly get distracted by deafening noise prevalent all the time,” he says.
“In spite of attending school regularly, I feel I am unable to retain what is being taught by my teachers.”
It is easy for even a layman to understand the frustration of these students. The scene at the school is quite disturbing like vendors trying to attract buyers; teachers speak simultaneously, trying to get their student’s attention.
“The keen students know that they would be more comfortable at a private school, but their parents cannot afford to send them to one. The students are suffering here whosoever is at the helm of affairs; none of them is actually concerned about them. The accommodation and the rent has been an issue for so many years now. The school has been bearing the brunt of the officials neglect for a long time now. We are pushed into a small space where it is not possible to teach properly. Although the students are eager to learn, but the infrastructure is not encouraging for quality education,” laments one of the teachers posted there.

The officials of the Educational Department occasionally visit the school and make promises about addressing the space issues. But these claims are never followed by action. The school has raised demands for its own accommodation, more classrooms and other educational facilities. But these requests seem to fall on deaf ears. The administration either blames the successive governments for the failure or lack of funds is held as an excuse.

Despite number of calls to the concerned Chief Education Officer, she didn’t receive any of the calls from the reporter.

When contacted the Zonal Education Officer Zafar Ahmed, he admitted the worrisome condition of the school and that it was running in a rented place which by no means is suitable for studying.

“Actually we are aware of the situation and we are trying to accommodate them, but procuring of the land is the issue. We don’t get the requisite piece of land according to our will. Some time the funds are not provided, other times the land is not available and plus there is surge of such schools in the valley. It takes time, but I assure you to do it on fast track basis and we will shift them into a new building soon. I have even called a meeting in this regard with concerned officers and I hope there long pending issues would be solved on priority basis.”

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