The entire monsoon, the 130 children of two primary classes in this village have studied in the open, under the leaky umbrella of trees.
On May 11, the public works department declared the building of Government Primary School unsafe, years after the school head made his first of the many reconstruction requests.
Even the structures of 13 other government schools of Nihal Singh Wala subdivision, including Ranian and Butter, are unsafe, yet hundreds of children continue to sit under the ceilings that might collapse anytime.
Block resource person Dilbagh Singh confirmed that in most of the 20-odd government schools of Nihal Singh Wala he had visited, the roof was damaged. "I got the school heads to write a note to the authorities that the buildings were unsafe," he said. "I took a detailed report to the education department."
Schoolmaster Angrej Singh teaches children of Class 1 at Rauke Kalan under trees. "We have adjusted Classes 3 to 5 at Government Senior Secondary School on the other side of the village," he said. "When its rain, children take cover in the office, which doesn't have space for 130."
Sant Puran Dass, head of dera Kersar Sahib of Bir Rauke village, has begun to build a new school on the common ground. "Our children learn in the open, so I called villagers to do volunteer service to lay a new structure," he said. "After the building is ready in another three months, we'll hand it over to the education department."
Deputy commissioner Arshdeep Singh Thind has ordered and inquiry into the safety of the buildings. "The district education officer will count the unsafe buildings," he said. "The additional deputy commissioner will visit the schools."