Floods have ravaged hundreds of schools in north Bihar. The worst affected are the primary and secondary schools, which are located in the interiors and have a small infrastructure compared to high schools. According to official figures, 57 primary and middle schools had been completely damaged or washed away in the floods, while another 1,960 have suffered extensive damage.
East Champaran district has borne the maximum brunt of floods. According to reports, nearly 1,000 schools have been damaged there. In Muzaffarpur 472 schools have been partially or fully destroyed. Sitamarhi is next, where around 350 schools have been affected.
Floods have also caused serious damages to educational institutions in Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and Madhubani. In Katihar, where the flood is not very furious, three schools had been completely washed away by surging waters.
"The Disaster Management Department had sought a report from us on the extent of damage caused to the schools in the flood-affected areas. We have submitted a report based on the assessment so far," said Principal Secretary, HRD, Dr MM Jha. The condition of High Schools, he added, was relatively better due to the bigger and better infrastructure.
So far, according to initial assessment, nearly 2,000 primary and middle schools have suffered minor damage, as the water receded quickly from the campus. "As far as High Schools are concerned, we have reports of extensive damage in 86 of them, while another 86 are affected in a small way," Jha said.
A large number of educational institutions in the flood-hit districts have been temporarily closed. According to a report, classes in about 60 per cent of government schools have been disrupted. The principal secretary said the decision to close the institutions had been left to the school management committees. "They decide on these matters on the basis of local situation and requirement," he added.
The floods have also taught some important lessons to the government. Jha said that all the proposed school buildings in the flood-affected regions would have a higher plinth. "We will request the engineers to make necessary alterations in the design of buildings in the flood-hit areas," he added.