BUDGAM: A number of schools Khag zone of central district Budgam are lacking basic infrastructure including furniture, libraries and toilet facilities. Many schools do not even have sufficient number of teachers.
At government high school Harde-Surush, recently built under RMSA scheme, more than 250 students are enrolled. However, the co-ed school lacks sufficient teaching staff. The school is not fenced and lacks washroom and others basic facilities.
“It is the only high school in the area for a population of 6,000 people, but the school is short of teachers and other facilities,” said a local resident. Headmaster of the school Rifat Maqbool said that the students are constrained to sit on torn mats in the classrooms as the authorities didn’t provide desks to students. She said even teachers had no comfortable chairs to sit on.
“We have no boundary wall, no washroom or even our newly constructed school lacks a main gate. Lack of basic facilities in schools has negative impact on the studies of students and their future as well,” she added.
Many students walk a distance of 3 kilometers to reach the school. A girl student said that it is difficult for them to stay put in the school for the entire day without using toilet facility.
Another student said her wish to play during break could not come true as there was no playground in the school. “Although a small lawn is in front of school but it is without protection wall and proper fencing,” she said.
A local resident told Kashmir Reader that a middle school was upgraded to the high school a few years back, but there was no facility available in the high school.
Elders said the school administration had sent countless reminders and requests to the education department to resolve the problems but to no avail. Similarly, at the Government Middle school Khawaja-Gund, students study under the open sky, with a tree’s shadow as their roof, walls as their blackboards, bricks as chairs and tree branches on which they hang their schoolbags.
The Government Middle School Hamchipora is just a few meters away from the Zonal headquarter. A local told Kashmir Reader that three teachers left the school recently but their substitutes were not sent even as the schools have been reopened after winter vacations.
A local resident said that the government focuses more on showcasing achievements in the education sector but there is no development visible on the ground level.
Teachers also voiced concern over the failure of the authorities to take steps to accommodate the ever-increasing number of students and filling up the vacant posts.
“Even though we have put forward several requests, the authorities have failed to depute teachers and fill vacancies,” a teacher said.
Another teacher said the school administration had sent the education department countless requests and reminders to provide basic amenities, but there was no response. Zonal education officer did not respond to repeated calls from his reporter.