Contrary to claims of the state government of providing all amenities to students of government schools, the students of Government Primary School, Ladoowal, are forced to sit on floor in absence of benches or even mats.
So while the education minister Sikander Singh Maluka aims to make all students digitally illiterate, all primary students want first is benches to sit on.
A visit to the school revealed that no benches had been provided to the school. A teacher, on the condition of anonymity, said, “I have been teaching in this school since 2006, but the school never got benches. So students are forced to sit on floor. The school was not even provided mats, which the school authorities purchased from their own pocket. During rains, water enters classrooms, which makes it difficult for students to sit on the floor that in turn affects their classes.”
Another teacher, who wished not to be named, said, “We prepare mid-day meal (MDM) everyday for 254 students, but have not received funds since June. Consequently, we had to stop serving the meal in August, but resumed it on Monday after receiving food grains.”
“The nearby residents are blatantly using the school premises as a garbage dump. Stray dogs and cattle often enter the premises of the school putting students to danger,” she added.
That’s not all. The building of the government primary school is in an appalling condition, but has failed to evoke any response from the state government for repairs. Loose electricity wires dangle from the walls, putting students and teachers’ lives in jeopardy.
The students are also suffering due to wild growth around the school. Water often gets collected during rain, making it a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which can cause diseases like dengue and malaria.
To make matters worse, the school has only six classrooms for some 750 students. Consequently, students of two sections of Class 6 are forced to sit in a hall converted into a classroom, where two teachers take concurrently.
Further, due to shortage of classrooms, students are forced to attend classes in the corridors.
The post of head is lying vacant for the past one year, while the sweepers are yet to receive salary for the past four months.
The officiating head of the school, who wished not to be named, said, “Two new classrooms have been constructed, and we will shift students in those rooms soon. The delay in the payment of the salary of the sweepers is due to the new online process and they will get the salary soon.”
The situation of other government primary schools is not much different, as the one in Fatehgarh Gujran also has no benches, forcing 63 students to sit on the floor.
The Government Primary School, Talwandi Kalan, has also not been provided benches for its 178 students. Even the chairs provided for the teachers are broken. A teacher, on the condition of anonymity, said, “During winter, we ask students to bring blankets from home as it is too cold to make them sit on mats.”
Despite repeated attempts, Ranjit Singh Malhi, district education officer, elementary; and education minister Sikander Singh Maluka were not available for comment.