Students of 5 grades huddle on 3 mats spread out on the ground in a government-run primary school in Naugarh developmental block of Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli district.
Situated a few metres off the Mughalsarai-Naugarh road, passersby often mistake the school in Godtutawa village for an abandoned hut for there are no signs to indicate it is one.
There are no doors and teachers manage to teach students of Class 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in the hut that has a thatched roof and stacked bricks for walls in the school about 20 kilometres from Union home minister Rajanth Singh’s native place Bhabhaura.
They say they even had to arrange for a wooden blackboard themselves for the students in the school that started in 2007-8.
“A building is the first and foremost requirement of any school. But our school lacks it. This is the reality,” headmaster Ramakant Prasad says.
“See, in this bag, I carry the attendance register, other documents and official files of the school. This bag is my office. The bag travels with me from my home to school and school to home daily,” he adds.
Prasad says despite the lack of infrastructure, all teachers come to the school and take classes regularly. “You may examine knowledge of the students. Ask questions of their standard, they will give the right answer,” he adds.
Pavan Kumar, a Class 5 student, when asked about the chief minister of the state promptly responds, “Yogi Adityanath.” And Prime Minister? “Narendra Modi,” he says.
Nisha, a Class 1 student, confidently recites, A for apple, B for bat, C for camel, D for dog, E for elephant, F for fish and spells umbrella, elephant, and a few other words correctly.
Three teachers, including the headmaster and two assistant teachers Rajiv Kumar Singh and Sushila Devi, and a Shiksha Mitra Dheeraj Kumar are deployed for 56 students - Class 1 has 7, Class 2 has 9, Class 3 has 11, Class 4 has 9, and 20 in Class 5 - of the school.
They say they have spoken to authorities about the lack of a building and other infrastructure after a reminder, a process to acquire land for constructing the school.
“The lack of building is a serious issue. We are aware of it. Recently, a letter has been sent to the directorate of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan with a request to provide a fund of Rs 2.90 lakh to be given to the forest department for the land,” Naugarh block education officer Pradeep Kumar Singh says.
“Hopefully, the fund will be released in near future. As soon as we get funds, the department will give it to the forest department. Subsequently, we will start construction of the building and will ensure that the school gets the building by the next academic session,” he adds.