‘Ghost’ shuts down government school for 6 years

Poor state of education

By Raashid Hassan   
Shopian: A government primary school at Votterpora village in Shopian district has no teacher and no students. The school is closed for the past six years. Locals say that there was a ghost in the school building. All the children who studied there would fall sick. According to the locals, the Votterpora government school building is built on a graveyard.
Children of Votterpora village study in schools in other villages. Officials of the education department say that nobody wants to send their children to the Votterpora school.
Abdul Rehman Tantray, the Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) of the area, told Kashmir Reader that the Votterpora school is closed for the past six years. “After we received complaints from parents about the presence of a ghost in the school, we made arrangements to shift the school to a private building. But parents refused to send their children to it,” he said.
Residents of Votterpora said that teachers in the village school worked with a casual attitude. “The teachers who worked in this school always came at noon and would leave 2-3 hours later,” said Ghulam Ahmad, a Votterpora resident.
Another villager said that parents prefer to send their children to a private school in Votterpora which is also located near the graveyard where the closed government school stands. It has about 80 students, he said. The real reason why villagers took out their children from the government school, he said, was not the ghost but the callous attitude of teachers who always came late and spent their time in the school knitting sweaters.
When contacted, Chief Education Officer of Shopian, Muhammad Sadiq, said that the education department needs cooperation from parents and village bodies. “We ask the parents to inform us if the teachers are coming late or leaving before time. We also warn teachers to perform their duties seriously or they will face tough action,” he said.
Residents of the nearby Trenz village, where a government girls’ middle school has accommodated 34 students of two other schools, said that the education department pays no attention to the schools in their area. They said that teachers always come late or do their household work in the school.
“Despite earning a handsome salary, the government teachers hardly attend classes. The government schools provide inferior education as compared to private schools,” Nasir Shafi, a resident of Trenz village, said.

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