Pulwama: The Department of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) is risking lives of students of Govt Boys Primary School at Wakherwan in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district by conducting their classes in an unsafe and unhygienic building.
The school is housed in a three room single storey building.
Ghulam Mohammad Mir, a local, said the building was constructed in 1980s and over these years, it has dilapidated due to negligence by the concerned authorities.
“The walls of the building have wide cracks; windows are broken and without panes. The ceiling too is broken,” Mir said.
“Our village has more than 200 households with a decent population of school-going children but majority of parents have stopped sending their kids to school as the building is unsafe,” Mir told Kashmir Reader, adding that the building can collapse anytime.
Mir added that around 25 students, mostly from poor families who cannot afford sending their kids to private schools, are enrolled in the school.
Another local Mohammad Ashraf said the school’s surrounding is very stinky. “On one side, a stable can be seen sharing walls with the school building, and on the other side, there is a cowshed, heaps of cow dung, dirt and fallen tree trunks fill the small yard of the school,” he said.
He said the floors of the classrooms often become dirty after bird poop falls upon them from the attic through wide holes of the broken ceiling.
“Neat and clean environment is a prerequisite for an institution like a primary school because teachers often start educating tender kids on cleanliness,” Ashraf said adding that authorities have put a bad example before their kids.
He said unhygienic school environment serves as a source of infection and the stink causes distraction in regular class work.
The villagers said they have time and again pleaded with authorities for relocation of the school but to no avail. “There are more than 800 kanals of state land (chariae) in our village which can be used for the purpose of constructing of the school,” they said.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dar, said he held a meeting with people of the area who informed him about the available land.
“A new building will be constructed at the available land which is very suitable for the said purpose and the school will be relocated to the new building,” DC Pulwama told Kashmir Reader.