Ever since it was set up in 2003, Government Primary School of Mir Mohalla Rahakyee in Budgam district has been in a neglected state. Although the government has called it a Primary School, in reality it is only a 6 x 10 feet rented room in which 30 children sit crammed together.
Farooq Ahmad is the only teacher at the school. He says he raised the issue with the higher officials many times, but to no avail. “I visited Zonal Education Office several times but no action has been taken yet. I had also written many applications to the concerned officials and even spoke to them but nothing happened,” he says to the reporter from Global News Service.
“In 2008, its status was changed to that of a Primary School, but its infrastructure remained the same. I am not able teach every subject as I also have to manage other official work,” he adds.
Meanwhile, the local residents say they have no option but to send their wards to the school. “People living here work as farmers and their financial condition is terrible,” says a local resident, Abdul Samad Bhat. “For this reason, we cannot afford to send our children to private schools and have to remain contend with the one provided by the government. When the owner of the room has any function in family, the school remains closed,” he adds.
The school was first set up as a part of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) project for children who did not get proper schooling. Locals blame the Zonal Educational Officer for the problem.
“Despite tall claims made about the upgradation of the infrastructure in the education sector, our school has been forgotten by the government. It neither has got a building nor a toilet due to which the standard and quality of education is falling,” said a local social activist, Merajuddin.
According to Sarpanch (village head) of the village, during winter months and rainy season, parents refuse to send their children to school as the rrom does not have adequate heating facilities. “The Midday Meal Scheme is also not properly implemented during these seasons,” he says.
When contacted ZEO Hardpanzoo (Budgam) Zone, Shulam Hassan said, “We have already written to the authorities of SSA in this connection and we are trying to get funds released soon.”
About 4830 educational institutions across Jammu and Kashmir are without buildings. The startling figures have come to fore in the latest Economic Survey tabled by the government in the Legislative Assembly in 2011.
The survey says that 4119 primary schools, 628 middle schools, 76 high schools and seven higher secondary schools are without buildings and are being run from rented buildings or by internal arrangement.
Apart from this, 984 upgraded institutions are deficient in accommodation, which include 611 high schools and 373 higher secondary schools.
Figures further reveal that 474 primary school buildings are in dilapidated condition with 28 upper middle schools without any building at all, while 52 primary institutions lack drinking water facility.