Govt school in Shuplian village a study in apathy

Students from Class 1 to Class 8 being taught in one room of dilapidated building that has no toilet, no water, no boundary wall, and no medical aid for miles around
By ISHFAQ RESHI
BUDGAM: After its new building collapsed due to heavy snow this winter, the government middle school at Shuplian village in Budgam district is holding all its classes – from Class 1 to Class 8 — in one room of its old ‘unsafe’ building.
The old building has three rooms, all of which have been declared unsafe by authorities as their walls have developed cracks. Nevertheless, one of the rooms is being used as an office and another room for holding the classes. The third room has such moisture in its walls that it is unusable.
The new building, which collapsed this winter, was in use since 2014. The 54 students of the school now attend their classes in one room of the dilapidated old building that itself may fall any time. Worse, the old building lacks such basic facilities as toilet and drinking water. There is a toilet in the building but it is not in working condition as it has no water facility. The children have to go to their nearby homes when they have to use the toilet.
Students of all classes are taught using a single blackboard. Some teachers hold classes outside the school in the open, but during these cold days it is only possible when there is ample sunshine.
“The students of this area are very poor and not able to buy warm clothes. They don’t even have socks to wear during these cold days,” said Tariq Ahmad, a teacher.
“How can we teach students of all classes under one roof! There is different syllabus for the classes and different levels of understanding of children,” said another teacher.
With one building already having collapsed, the safety of school children is at risk with no medical facilities available in the school and for miles around. The school is at the periphery of the district and heavy snow remains accumulated for almost six months.
There is no fence or boundary wall around the school. The main access to the building skirts the edge of a stream. “Apart from teaching them,” a teacher said, “we have to take care that they do not cross the boundary carelessly.”

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