SRINAGAR: Distressed by the condition of the school he was posted to, a headmaster in Srinagar has spent money from his own pocket on its renovation.
“Even a dog cleans the place where he sits, with his tail. We are humans, how can we live in a dirty environment. This is a school and it should look like one,” Mumtaz Ahmad, headmaster of Government Middle School, Gupt Ganga, Ishber, remarks.
Appointed in 2001 as a teacher in Department of Education, Mumtaz, a resident of nearby Harwan in Srinagar, was promoted as a headmaster in 2013. He was transferred to the Ishber school in 2017.
According to Mumtaz, when he joined the school, it was in a “very poor state” and he was “distressed” to see the condition.
During 2016 uprising, CRPF had occupied the school for around seven months, which Mumtaz says, had left the building badly damaged.
“The school was not fenced from any side. Plaster had ripped off from its walls. The doors were broken and the dogs used to enter the building. There was dog poop all over the place,” Mumtaz said.
Apart from the makeover that Mumtaz got done, three washrooms of the school left unusable during CRPF stay are still to be repaired.
Mumtaz says he informed the authorities about the condition of the school, but without waiting started work on its renovation. First the school was fenced and a gate installed. Later the windows and doors were replaced and repaired. Broken taps in the washrooms were also replaced.
In a surprise inspection, Chief Education Officer once visited the school and after seeing the renovation work, released an amount of 60,000 rupees in two instalments. The amount was enough to cover the work done.
But without caring for more funds, Mumtaz continued the work further. Walls of around 10-12 rooms including classrooms and hallways were plastered and painted. It cost him around 40,000 rupees, which have not been reimbursed.
Mumtaz says he paid off the bills happily and does not expect the department to pay for it.
“I never received that money. Everyone told me that why I did that. But I did it for the sake of Allah. I don’t expect the government to give me that money. It was my choice and I did it for the children,” says Mumtaz. “How can the children study in a dirty environment? We as teachers have to lead and set the example, that is how, they will learn.”
Government has recently announced that the school would be upgraded to a High school. There is a lot of work to be done on the school and keeping in view the announcement, Mumataz is now expecting a huge change.
“Now that the school is to be upgraded, it is expected that the government will do a lot new construction besides the repairing work. It is a welcome move,” Mumtaz said in an optimistic tone.