Srinagar: Two years after it was declared unsafe by the Roads and Buildings Department (R&B), the four-storey building of Government Boys Higher Secondary School in Khanyar continues to host classes.
Manzoor Ahmad Baba, the school principal, said that the floods of September 2014 damaged the building. The school had 20 rooms that housed classrooms, library, laboratories, staff rooms and other important offices. After the school authorities approached officials of the higher education department and told them about the condition of the school, makeshift sheds were constructed for conducting classes in April 2015. No permanent structure was constructed.
To prevent loss of life, Baba pasted a few posters stating “Enter at your own risk”. But the teachers removed them, arguing that it might send a bad message to students who had shown faith in the institution.
“Due to lack of space, teachers decided to enter the building at their own risk,” Baba said. “Yes I agree, everything inside the school building is unsafe, be it classrooms, staff rooms, office or library. The only reason we took the risk is because there was no other space.”
“It’s impossible to accommodate all the students in the four makeshift classrooms,” Baba added.
In 2011, the school was upgraded from a high school to a model higher secondary school. Hardly anything at this school, however, can be considered as a model. “We have only 98 students here. Many students prefer to go to the MP school, which is nearby. After all, students want good facilities, which we lack,” said the principal.
He claimed that during this financial year, the school was allotted Rs 2 crore 22 lakh for reconstruction and repair, but the work has not been executed so far. “I fear the funds might lapse because the old building is yet to be razed to the ground,” Baba said.
Zahoor Ahmad, a teacher at the school, said, “Laboratories are a must for many subjects. But due to lack of space, we don’t have them. Students only know the theoretical part and are not aware about the practical aspects.”
According to the principal, three computers have been set up in the science laboratory. “An information and communication technology laboratory was sanctioned for the school, but all its equipment is lying in my room. I have decided to surrender my room for its establishment, and now it will be set up here. Now there will be no room for the principal, too,” he said.
“The higher authorities know of the problem, but they are acting as mute spectators. We are not able to use the fax machine or any other facility to help us in our work,” said Parveez Ahmad, senior assistant at the school.
Despite repeated attempts, the education minister was not available for his comments.