Most of government schools in the district paint a grim picture on account of infrastructure as students are made to sit on mats on the ground in the cold weather due to shortage of benches, according to the annual data compilation by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). The data revealed that the government middle, high and senior secondary schools in the district are facing severe shortage of benches.
According to the data, there is shortage of 6,531 benches in 143 government, middle, high and senior secondary schools in the district. Consequently students are taking classes on the floor. The data reveals that 13,062 students are sitting on the floor as the schools are conducting classes without benches.
The SSA has collected the data from the government schools in the district to get an idea of benches required for Classes 6 to 8 in the district. The information had been sought by the director general school education office.
DEO (elementary) Gurjot Singh said, “Last week, we have submitted a detailed plan to the Punjab DGSE. As per requirement, 143 schools need benches in our district. So we have compiled the data and the same has been submitted at the DGSE office. Further, the DGSE office will send a detailed plan to the ministry of human resource and development (MHRD).”
A government primary school in charge, on condition of anonymity, said, “I am teaching at a government primary school since the last five years and we are never asked to send information regarding requirement of benches.
It is shocking that the government is making no effort to provide benches to the students of the primary schools. Our students are sitting on the floor and during winters, the situation becomes worse. When students of Class 1 to 5 did not get opportunity to sit on benches than how the same students, who belong to poor families, when shifted to Class 6 will sit on benches.”
Punjab education minister Daljit Singh Cheema said, “The MHRD has not directed us to send the information regarding any requirement of benches for the government primary schools. We keep sending funds to all districts on our own to purchase infrastructure for the schools.”
In absence of the benches, most of the students are made to sit on the floor, especially in prevailing cold condition, in the government primary schools of the district. Neither the MHRD, nor the state government have made efforts to provide benches to these schools.