Residents smell foul play by staff, officials blame villagers
SHOPIAN: Local residents are smelling foul play in the vandalising of a school building in Habdipora village, which has been demolished beyond repair over time.
The middle school was shut in 2015 when its roll came down to near zero, after which some mischievous elements razed the building.
Insiders in the Education department, and local villagers suspect the vandalisation was instigated by staff to cover up “questionable upgrade of the school and recruitments”.
The primary school had been upgraded to middle school despite a minimal roll, and two teachers had been regularised under Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) scheme.
Residents of Habdipora village, which falls in Shopian Education zone, said that a primary school was functioning in their village for which a ReT Teacher was appointed. With the passage of time the school was upgraded to middle school “with some political approach since there were only 32 students” in the school.
A new single storey building was constructed ten years ago in a spacious patch of land, they said.
“After the closure of school, many people were playing cards there and on return they would bring a brick in their hands daily after damaging it and it was turned into hub of drug addicts,” a resident of Largam village said. He said that the school was constructed on Largam land while the teachers who got jobs under ReT scheme were residents of Habdipora village.
Sources in the Education department confirmed that at the time of upgradation, in 2010, only 32 students were enrolled at the school and “surprisingly” two more ReT teachers were engaged under SSA.
“ReT teachers, who give an undertaking to increase student roll for consideration of regularisation, failed to do so as the student roll decline to three. Teachers who were supposed to submit roll and result statement got regularised despite their failure,” an Education department employee said.
One of the ReT teachers was posted to Girls Higher Secondary Shopian after the closure of the school, which he said, is against norms. The teacher has been posted there for more than three years now.
Education department insiders find the regularisation of two teachers in the backdrop of declining student roll fishy.
“First there is no norm to depute a ReT teacher in higher secondary school and if done but not for a long period of time. In this case it is three continuous years for one of the teachers. Second, his job was to get more students to the school but the school was closed due to decline in student enrolment (3),” an official in the department remarked.
Gradually, the deserted three roomed school building was vandalised and then demolished in 2016.
“An inside hand is quite a possibility in the demolition, to cover up questionable up- gradation and subsequent regularisation of RET’s,” insiders said.
Chief Education Officer Shopian, Mohammad Sadiq said he has written to police to inquire the matter.
“I have contacted the concerned ZEO about the bulldozing of school and directed him to file a case with police,” he added.
Sadiq, however, blamed the villagers for vandalising the building, and said that he had sent concerned Zonal Educational Officer to the village to ask residents not to damage the building.
He added that he visited the school several times, but villagers were not willing to get the school restarted.
On up-gradation of the school and regularisation of RET’s, he said that it would have been done on the basis of satisfactory enrolment of students.
On deputing the ReT teacher to higher secondary school, he replied that he had detached the teacher back twice, “but he furnished an order from then director of school education, Shah Faisal to get him posted in higher secondary”.