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Baramulla school fights official neglect with tin shed classrooms

Corridors double as classrooms, school faces infrastructure challenges
03:09 AM Apr 14, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
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Baramulla, Apr 13: Bellying the claims of filling infrastructural gaps in schools, Government High School (GHS) Zehanpora in education zone Boniyar in Baramulla has remained the victim of the official neglect

Situated beside the River Jhelum in Baramulla outskirts and surrounded by lush green forests, the infrastructural facilities present a stark contrast between its idyllic setting and infrastructural plight.

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Since its establishment in the area, the school has become a victim of official apathy, grappling with inadequate facilities of infrastructure, taking a toll on the academic environment of the school.

A single visit to the schools depicts the official apathy faced by the government schools in rural areas despite having an encouraging enrollment of students.

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Against an enrollment of approximately 150 students from class 1st primary to class 10th, the school's infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

The school has only six rooms to accommodate students of 10 classes.

One of these available rooms houses the ICT lab while another is used as the staff room.

This leaves just four rooms to manage classes for 10 classes.

To cope with the space constraints, the first floor’s corridor is utilised as a makeshift classroom, while the ground-floor corridor serves as a kitchen for preparing Mid-Day Meals (MDM) for students.

This dual function of corridors leads to overcrowding, diminishing the aesthetic appeal and functionality of the school premises.

Amid space constraints, the teachers have contributed funds out of their pockets to erect two tin shed rooms as an extension.

However, these makeshift classrooms are far from ideal, with students of different classes sharing space, facing away from each other to attend simultaneous lessons.

“It becomes very difficult to conduct classes in tin sheds, especially during harsh winter and scorching summer months. There are no provisions for heating during winter,” a teacher, wishing not to be named, said.

During summer, when temperatures soar, students are forced to endure classes in the open sky due to the unbearable heat inside the tin sheds.

Despite boasting CCTV surveillance and electricity facilities, the school lacks basic essential amenities like adequate classrooms, a library, and a laboratory for the students of secondary classes.

“At times we utilise the ICT laboratory and join practical classes of students going on in other schools. But that can bring the real feel of practical classes for the students,” the teacher said.

They said that the government had sanctioned an additional school building for the school but the work had not been started yet.

“The school was upgraded from middle school to high school in 2012 but to date, the school is running from the same accommodation,” the school teacher said.

Chief Education Officer (CEO), Baramulla, Balbir Singh Raina told Greater Kashmir that the school building had been sanctioned for the school and efforts were on to expedite the process.

“We are aware of the issue and are hopeful that the work will start soon,” he said.

However, a top official of the School Education Department (SED) said that work on hundreds of school buildings, which were sanctioned earlier, had not been started after the government ordered the withdrawal of the engineering wing from Samagra Shiksha.

”The withdrawal of the engineering wing proved costly for the department as the execution of the work on school buildings has been stalled,” the official said.

The decision to withdraw the engineering wing from SED was executed in August 2023 and has led to delays in the completion of projects, impacting the targets set under the Samagra Shiksha scheme.

The separate engineering wing was allotted to the SED which was entrusted with the execution of projects sanctioned by the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL) under the Samagra Shiksha scheme.

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