Set up in 2004, by the then Mufti Muhammad Sayeed-led government under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in a rented accommodation of two-storey building, Government Primary School (GPS) Chowdary Bagh in central Kashmir’s Budgam district depicts a grim picture of education sector in Kashmir.
The school is situated near the Baramulla-Banihal railway track and the students have to bear with the loud noise every time a train passes through the area.
“Given the location of this school, the students have to bear with the irritating noise every time a train passes,” said a teacher, who is posted in the school.
Since its establishment, the school never saw any development and has remained a blot on the face of the government.
“Government is making tall claims of taking education to new heights but this school reveals the ground situation and speaks volumes about the efforts initiated by the department to improve educational standards in the state,” the teacher said.
Given its dilapidated condition, the owner of the house in past years reduced the building to single storey with the result the school started functioning from two congested rooms.
Drinking water, toilet facility, heating and cooling facilities have remained a distant dream for the students. Besides, the roof of the two rooms has been put on support to ensure that it doesn’t cave in, added a local resident.
“Given the lack of infrastructure and congested accommodation, the locals prefer to admit their wards in other schools which resulted in reduced enrollment of student here,” the teachers said.
“The school has no fencing and no playground for children. How can we motivate parents to admit their kids here,” they said.
No toilet has been constructed in the school under ‘Swachh Vidyalaya’ scheme which has put a question mark on the implementation of much hyped flagship program in the state.
The building has no facets to be called as an educational institution and what has become a cause of worry for the teachers is the pending rent liability of this school for the past many years.
“The department has not released the rent of this school while the owner of this building on many occasions has threatened to lock down the school,” the teachers said.
The school has a total enrolment of less than 20 students with two ReT teachers posted there by the education department.
Two years ago, government merged around 2400 schools with adjacently located schools given the meagre enrolment. But here, the process can further create more school dropouts given the location of the area.
Meanwhile, Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo said he will take up the matter with concerned Chief Education Officer (CEO) to resolve the issue. “Appropriate action will be taken accordingly,” he said.