A total of 31 students of Classes 1 to 5 in one small hall. No benches. Children taking their lessons sitting on the floor. The same hall being used to cook midday meal. This is the first floor of Ravidass Dharamshala that has housed Government Primary School, Dharampura, since 1960. What happens when the hall is rented out for a function? The teachers take students to a vacant plot for classes.
The year is 2016. For over 50 years, the students of this ‘school’ have studied under dire conditions not fit for any child of their age. The school has four teachers for 31 students, and of which only one is regular. The other three are education providers and special training resource volunteers. There are five students each in Classes 1 and 4, nine each in Classes 2 and 3, and three in Class 5. The district education department has continued to turn a blind eye to these appalling conditions.
NO MIDDAY MEAL KITCHEN
In the absence of a midday meal kitchen, the school authorities have kept all the utensils to prepare and serve the food in an almirah.
The cook said, “The school has no cylinder so I get my own. I have not received my salary for the past two months. The school has only one regular teacher who can access the school account and take out the salary. But she is on maternity leave and in her absence no other teacher has been given access to the account.”
‘DIFFICULT TO ADJUST IN ONE HALL’
A school teacher, requesting anonymity, said, “It becomes difficult to teach students because all the classes are held in the same hall. Whenever the cook prepares the meal, there is so much suffocation in the room that it becomes difficult to sit inside. During power cuts, we have no facility of a generator or an inverter.”
Another teacher said, “The school is being run from this room for the past 56 years and it is difficult to accomodate five classes in one small hall. The school receives uniform, food grains for midday meal and textbooks but what is the use of these facilities when the school doesn’t even have its own building? There is an urgent need to shift our students to some other school where they can get better facilities.”
District education officer (elementary) Gurjot Singh said, “Last year, we had shifted the students to a nearby government school but after two days the parents refused to send their kids to that school citing distance issues. We have written to the higher authorities for a solution as I want the students to get the best of facilities and environment to study and make progress.”
ONE TOILET FOR ALL
In a blatant violation of the Right to Education Act, according to which, for every 20 students there must be at least one toilet, this school has only one common toilet for boys, girls and teachers.