Keen on imparting education to their children, residents of Phoolpur village, around 4km from Lambra village, have reopened the school the Punjab government had closed last week as part of the rationalisation policy.
The policy permits construction of only one school within the radius of 1 km at all villages across the state. If two primary schools are located within 1 km, the one that has poor infrastructure and less number of students can be merged with the bigger one.
The villagers took the step after being disappointed with the attitude of nearly all officials concerned.
They had demanded restoration of the school, which was opened in 1953 and had strength of 24 students at present.
Closed by the state education department, it was planned to be merged with Government Primary School, Dhanal Kalan, where 50 students had been admitted so far.
Staff of the Phoolpur school had been asked to join the one at Dhanal Kalan. So, the Phoolpur villagers convinced two local girls to teach their children.
Jaswinder Kaur, sarpanch, Phoolpur village said: "We have hired two teachers on our own. Both are well qualified. One has done MSc in mathematics and the other has done MA in BEd. The school will be run with the panchayat funds. Earlier named Government Primary School, it will now be called Panchayat Public School."
She said the villagers had refused to send their children to the other school due to safety reasons.
A villager on the condition of anonymity said: "Our kids are very young and they will not be able to walk up to the school that is around 2 km far from here."
Former MLA Jagbir Brar while inaugurating the school on Thursday, said: "This school has eight rooms, a kitchen and a two-acre playground apart from proper water supply, while the school at Dhanal Kalan lack these facilities."
Desraj, school managing committee chairman and social worker, said the school needed about `60,000 a year to function and the expenses would be met with the panchayat funds earned through land on contract basis.
District education officer (primary) Kuldeep Sharma said: "The schools have been merged as per the guidelines of the government. No decision will be taken in haste. Our teams are inspecting all schools and after verifying all factors and consulting authorities concerned, the decision on merger will be taken. I will ask the block education officer to report on the same."