Kulgam: Two government-run middle schools in far-flung areas of Kulgam district are termed ‘schools’ as a mere tag as both lack all infrastructure, even buildings.
The Government Middle School in Gujjar-basti Avil village has 90 students on its rolls but only four rooms to accommodate them in nine classes. Both teachers and students have a tough time here as it lacks everything in the name of school.
Teachers deputed at the school told Kashmir Reader that they have no other way than to conduct classes out in the open due to the lack of rooms. “Among these four rooms, we used to adjust everything like office, library/laboratory and class work of nine classes, which badly affects the normal school work,” a teacher from the school told Kashmir Reader.
Teachers added that the old building was damaged due to heavy snow in 2016, but despite repeated pleas to higher authorities since then, no building has been sanctioned for this school yet. “Besides this old building, there were two more rooms which are dysfunctional as ground water enters into them,” Muhammad Aslam Kuttay, a teacher, said.
Villagers from the area accuse the government of neglecting the area and, most importantly, the education of their children. They said that the reason for the neglect was only that the majority of people in the area live below the poverty line. “They (the politicians) come only once to this area, that too for want of votes. When they get those, they disappear till the next elections, only to return then with more lies,” laments Muhammad Sadiq Gorsi, a local resident.
Another resident added that the literacy rate in the area is too low. “We want to educate our children now as we remain illiterate and are facing the results of being illiterate. Sweating from dawn doesn’t even fetch us two times of meals, and men in power want us to stay the same by denying education to our younger generation,” Bashir Ahmad Teli, another local, said.
School authorities added that the old building has been declared unsafe, but they were forced to shift students there in times of inclement weather.
Chief Education Officer, Kulgam, Bashir Ahmad said that there was an issue over land for the construction of a new building.
When asked why the government can’t demolish the old unsafe building which has almost fallen, he said, “I will constitute a committee and will recommend that the government sanction another building for the school.”