Yet the number of students drop each year
SRINAGAR: In a case that negates the policy of one teacher for every 35 students – a ratio fixed by the education department – the Government Boys Middle School at Drugjan in Srinagar has 10 teachers for the 50 odd students enrolled in the school.
Still, the number of students enrolled in the school, has been dropping for the last few years, according to one official in the education department. “Every year, the school authorities present fictitious claims and figures and grease the palms of higher officials,” said an official, wishing anonymity.
Most of the classes at the school have five or less students, although specific information about number of students in each class is closely guarded. When asked for information about the school’s enrolment, a teacher preferred to give vague replies. They said the numbers were “good”, but didn’t furnish a figure. Another teacher said that there were more than 50 enrolments but didn’t provide any exact number.
From conversations with students and the administrative staff of the school, who wished for anonymity, it emerged that there were three students in Class VIII, two students in Class VII and only one student in Class IV.
Recently, a group of around 10 students pursuing their Bachelor of Education degree visited the school as part of their training programme and were taken aback at the dismal state of affairs. Seeking to take more precise stock of the situation, they asked to access the stock register but were barred from going through it.
An undergraduate student, who was part of the group, told Kashmir Reader, “The teachers did not cooperate with us. We asked for the registers on the first day, but they didn’t provide them and said that the headmaster was absent. The next day, on our insisting, they did provide some records but not the full information and said that four teachers were on leave. The school is defunct and has a very deserted look”.
According to the undergraduate trainees, headmaster and other teachers were constantly absent from the school, which impacted the education of the students enrolled at the school. They said that students found it difficult to answer basic questions.
“How would the students have answered us? We noticed that their English class was acceptable, and their Mid-Day Meals were good too. But their behaviour was harsh compared with what we found at Middle School, Gagribal, another school in the vicinity,” the B. Ed. students said.
When asked, teachers at the Durgjan school said the principal was unwell and on leave for three days. “The records are with her. She has given charge to another teacher, who has been transferred to another school. She couldn’t come here because she was occupied with her work in the other school,” said Shameema, a staffer.
Furqana, another teacher, said that the B. Ed. students had been facilitated with everything they asked for but some things were “secret” and couldn’t be shown to them. “We agree that we have less students, but what we can do? We try to motivate students to come here to school, but they don’t,” she said.
Education department officials were not available for comment.