Srinagar: A plaque on the wall of Government Boys Secondary School, Watrad in Khansahib area of central Budgam district informs of the up-gradation of middle school to secondary level. The upgrade came in November 2006, but talk to anyone around, be a staffer or local villagers, the common complaint is that the upgrade has made no difference to school infrastructure.
“From a primary school initially, to a middle school, and now to a high school, nothing has changed here over the years. This is all we have,” a local youth says.
The school is a typical example of vote bank politics and exploitation of educational institutions by politicians in Kashmir.
The school Headmaster, Mohammad Amin Beigh says the playground and even the land on which school building stands “are temporary”.
“The land is yet to be transferred from the landlord to the Education department,” he explains.
Even after being upgraded to two higher levels from primary level, the school has a lone building block for students.
Beigh says the building is sufficient “only for a middle school”.
The school has only six rooms including the Headmaster’s room.
“We cannot even divide a class into sections as there is no space to accommodate them”.
A local youth equally blamed the villagers for giving a cold shoulder to the school.
“There is land for the school’s expansion. We should also have kept the required land available,” he said.
Beigh laments that instead of doing any good to the institution, “a master post was transferred from the school elsewhere by the authorities”.
He also lamented the dearth of land for the construction work.
The poor infrastructure has understandably kept away the students from the school.
Against the staff strength of 11 including Beigh, some 150 students are enrolled at the school, he informed.
“Most of them remain absent as their parents keep them involved in agricultural work,” Beigh said.
Beigh also complained that during the recent upgradation of schools by the School Education Department, the school was “overlooked despite its central location”.
Chief Education Officer Budgam, Fatima Banu could not be contacted despite repeated efforts.