sopore: A school in north Kashmir’s Sopore town functions without adequate staff, lacks own building but the children from the impoverished families are constrained to study in the inhospitable conditions. Many of them are not lagging behind in educational pursuits.
The school in Sheer Colony of Sopore was upgraded twelve years ago from primary to middle standard but the infrastructure deteriorated rather than showing any improvement.
The primary school was established in 2004 and it started functioning as an appendix to already functional middle school in the area. After the separation of the school, the students were shifted to a rented single-room accommodation provided by a local teacher.
The locals continued to pursue with the authorities of the education department to provide building to the school but to no avail. Finally, a ward member offered a piece of land in the area for the construction of building. Interestingly, the school was leading in results in the cluster that put the authorities in an embarrassing situation.
Headmaster Imtiyaz Ahmad Reshi said that the children in the area are industrious and have proper knack for gaining knowledge but lack of proper infrastructure bars their pursuits.
“We have four Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers to look after more than 200 students. Ours is the middle school with highest enrolment in the cluster but due to lack of teaching staff, we stopped enrolment of more students,” Reshi said.
Worse, instead of augmenting staff in the school, the zonal office ordered detachment of two teachers on medical grounds. “When we raised voice against the transfers, the officer issued fresh orders for placement in our school but the teachers refused to join their duties,” Reshi said adding the protests and complaints from the parents of children studying in the school as well as from the teachers do not evoke any response from the authorities.
Locals said that the politically connected teachers manage choicest postings in the area and this school is not on their priority list.
“The orders issued from the zonal education office are most of the times observed in breach”, said a local resident.
The teachers deployed in the school say that lack of adequate staff was not the only issue with the functioning of the school. “The school lacks basic facilities like the access to drinking water and toilets. The teachers have to make request to the neighbours for drinking water. They sometimes refuse it,” said an aggrieved teacher.
He said the school is a fair-weather facility. “When there is rainfall, water seeps into classrooms and the teaching routine gets affected,” he said.
The situation in Sheer Colony School is in quite contrast to that of some other prominent schools in the town. “The Government Girls Residential School in downtown Sopore has six teachers to teach a total of ten girls,” said a local resident.
Apart from political backing, the blue-eyed teachers are in the good books of various union leaders who manage their posting in low-enrolment schools. Teachers Union leader Amin Malik, however, refutes the allegation. “Why shall we back the teachers who don’t follow the orders of Education department and are not willing to do their work properly,” he said.
Chief Education Officer Baramulla said that he was unaware of the situation prevailing in Sopore schools. “The action will be taken against the teachers and officials who are responsible for the messy situation in these schools,” he told Kashmir Reader.als who are responsible for the messy situation in these schools,” he told Kashmir Reader.