Two classrooms of Government Primary School, Sainsowal Khurd, Macchiwara, 52 km from here, were declared unsafe two years ago by the public works department (PWD), but the government has failed to provide funds for construction of new classrooms at the school despite visits by top officer from Ludhiana and Chandigarh. The classrooms were declared unsafe in May 2013.
A visit to the school on Friday revealed that the two unsafe classrooms are yet to be demolished and wide cracks have appeared on the roofs and there is problem of leakage too. The students were found sitting on benches under a tree and a single teacher was taking the classes.
PWD junior engineer Rajinder Singh said, "I visited the school in May 2013 and declared both the classrooms unsafe. To build new classrooms, a grant of `1.23 lakh is required, but the authorities have failed to provide the same to date. The students are sitting in the open and the government must provide the funds as early as possible."
Village sarpanch Sat Pal Singh said, "Since the last two years, the senior education department officials are visiting the school, but to no avail. During rain, the teacher declares holiday as it is not safe to teach the students in the unsafe classrooms. The district education officer, elementary, is also aware of the situation, but still the government is not providing grants for construction of even one classroom."
There are two government primary schools near the village - GPS Milkowal, which is 3-km away, and GPS Sainsowal Kalan, which is 4-km away - but village residents do not allow their children to travel three to four km daily to study.
A parent, Jeet Singh, said, "I can't afford to send my kids to a private school. My sons are studying in this government school since last year. At the time of the admission, I was not aware about the unsafe classrooms. When I got to know, I asked the teacher to do something. The teacher told me that they have written to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) office for funds. The state government is spending crores on senior secondary residential school for meritorious in Ludhiana and are not giving `5 lakh for the existing government schools."
What Punjab DGSE says
Director general school education (DGSE), Punjab, Pradeep Aggarwal said, "The classrooms that were declared unsafe by the PWD were demolished last year. If unsafe classrooms are still there in any school and have not been demolished to date, we will look into the matter. A report has been submitted to the government of India in February this year to get grants for new classrooms. As soon as we get grants from the Centre, the same will be sent to the respective schools where classrooms have been declared unsafe."
Norms on student-teacher ratio flouted
In blatant violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, a single teacher has been conducting all classes from classes 1 to 5 at the school since the last two years. While the RTE Act mandates a pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) of 30:1 to ensure that every child learns better in a classroom, the lone education provider is teaching all the students in the school.
The school has a strength of 42 students in classes 1 to 5. The solitary teacher handles all jobs in the school - from teaching to sending data and taking care of mid-day meals. Of the total strength of 42, 21 are girls. The school has two regular posts for teachers and both are lying vacant since 2013.