Students of twenty newly upgraded schools of Bathinda parliamentary constituency have surprisingly been waiting for principals and teachers for the past twelve months.
A year ago, before the Lok Sabha elections, twenty schools of Bathinda and Mansa districts were upgraded from high schools to senior secondary schools and a total of 126 new posts (20 principals and 106 lecturers) were approved by an official committee presided by chief secretary of Punjab in a meeting held on February 28, 2014.
However, only two posts, one for principal and one for lecturer, were filled in the last academic session.
In 2014 parliament elections, incumbent Harsimrat Kaur Badal, daughter-in-law of chief minister Prakash Singh Badal was SAD-BJP's candidate for the Bathinda parliamentary seat.
She announced the upgradation before the Lok Sabha polls and in a meeting of the Punjab cabinet held on February 24, 2014 the officers committee was authorised to create the new posts. The move was taken just before the implementation of code of conduct for 2014 Parliament Elections.
Senior secondary classes (class 10 and class 12) were started with immediate effect from the starting of session 2014-15, but the facilities and faculty are yet to be provided.
The one principal recruited has been appointed at the government senior school Bhucho Khurd of Bathinda district while the post of English lecturer has been filled at government senior secondary school (GSSS) Gehri Devi Nagar in Bathinda district.
Out of these twenty schools, nineteen started admissions for class 11 onwards 12 from April 2014. Only at GSSS, Mour Kalan, classes have not been started yet. In some schools, the senior classes are being conducted under the village panchayat and school management committees with teachers hired on parent teachers association (PTA) funds.
Presently, more than 13 schools have students of only class 11 and the remaining have students in class 11 and 12 both. Most of these schools even do not have all filled master cadre posts.
As many as 17 schools, there is a lack of class rooms for higher classes as most of the old rooms have been declared unsafe and demolished and new rooms have not been built. The classes are being conducted in open.
Teachers of master cadre are working as ad hocs for lecturers without getting any extra remuneration for over work. At some schools even qualified teachers for the elective subjects are not available, so the students are being forced to learn on their own.
At the time of up gradation, more than half of the schools did not have regular headmasters and were run by senior teachers as ad hoc headmasters. They are now working as incharge principals without any powers. Other facilities such as laboratories, playgrounds have also not been provided.