In an attempt to balance the student-classroom ratio across government schools in Chandigarh, the UT education department had promised to open six composite schools (from Classes 1 to 10) by October 2014. A year and a half later, the opening of five of these schools is yet to see the light of the day.
According to the Project Approval Board’s (PAB) report of 2014, atleast four of these six schools in periphery colonies should have been inaugurated last year. Despite missing deadlines repeatedly, the department has failed to come up with even two schools before the new academic session in April this year. So far, the government high school in Dhanas is the only one out of the six schools, which was inaugurated earlier in January this year.
Director of school education Rubinderjit Singh told HT, “The work at our end is complete as we have given the budget approval for four schools, but the engineering department has delayed the construction work.”
On the other hand, chief engineer Mukesh Anand said he had asked his team to look into the issue.
Elaborating upon the reasons behind the delay, superintending engineer CB Ojha said, “The construction work will be complete for the government schools in Sector 49, Mauli Jagran and Manimajra by July 31. The one in Sector 48 should also be ready by August 15.” He said that since the budget estimates were revised, the contract had to be renewed and construction work had to start afresh which, in turn, led to the delay.
As for the government school in Kishengarh whose construction was completed long back, could not be inaugurated due to a legal dispute over the land on which it is constructed. The land slipped out of the administration’s hands when the Punjab and Haryana high court quashed its acquisition notification in 2013, on grounds similar to which the Supreme Court had quashed the acquisition of about 275 acres of land for the third phase of the IT park in October 2012.
Soon after, the UT administration filed a special leave petition in the apex court, which too was dismissed on March 2014.
Since the administration lost, the land had to be transferred to its original owners. The owners are entitled to compensation four times the collector’s rate in rural areas. Despite the department officials’ efforts to seek a compromise with the original owners, there has been no progress in this case.
WHAT IS STUDENT CLASSROOM RATIO
The student-classroom ratio, according to the Right to Education (RTE) Act, is that government schools should not enrol more than 40 students in one classroom.