Primary school has 2 rooms, 2 teachers for 200 students; authorities, villagers pass the buck
SRINAGAR: The claims made by the successive state governments about improving the education system in Kashmir Valley notwithstanding, the condition of the government schools, particularly in the rural areas, continues to be bad.
The Government Primary School at Dardpora, Kupwara, in north Kashmir is a case in point.
The school with 200 students on rolls is being run in two rented rooms. It only has two teachers to manage all the five classes.
The teachers told Kashmir Reader that that the students face hardships due to lack of space, staff, and other basic facilities.
The head of the village said they approached the authorities concerned many times, but in vain.
“It is very challenging for two teachers to manage five classes,” he said.
Dardpora has come to be known as the ‘village of widows’, because of the bloodshed witnessed by it during the conflict. The village has lost many men, who have left behind their widows.
Consequently, it is the children from the destitute families whose education is taking a hit due to the school’s dismal state.
Lal Jan, a 38-year-old widow, has two kids—Parvaiz Ahmad and Bilal Ahmad—studying in classes 4 and 5, respectively, in the school.
She said: “I have to beg to people to make ends meet and to try to provide education to my kids. But my children are not gaining anything in this school.”
Nazir Ahmad Khatana, a student studying in class 4, said: “Sometimes, one teacher is absent and the other one has to take all the classes. We are not provided the midday meals properly.”
The school’s classrooms are not even fit to protect the students from heat or cold.
However, the zonal education officer concerned, Mumtaz Ahmad, blamed the villagers for the mess.
“We need a piece of land in the village to construct the school building, but the villagers are not ready to provide us land,” he said.
About the lack of staff in the school, he said: “We will soon appoint two more teachers in the school under Sarva Sikhsha Abiyaan scheme.”