With the building of Government Primary School, Moti Nagar, being declared unsafe six months ago, 160 students are forced to attend classes under a tree.
The school building houses five classrooms which were declared unsafe by the public works department. On August 1, the teachers decided to vacate the school and were taking classes at a gurdwara till August 23.
However, with the gurdwara authorities asking the teachers to vacate its hall, they were left with no other option but to start taking classes under a tree.
With no respite from the heat and temperatures hovering between 35°C and 37°C, it is difficult students to sit on the mats.
Also, the school does not have toilets for students, who had to go out in the open to relieve themselves. The school does not have a gate, allowing cattle to wander around on the school premises. The school also did not have regular water facility and the midday meal cooks used to take water from area residents.
In Class 1, there are 45 students, Class 2 has 28, Class 3 has 33, Class 4 has 21 and Class 5 has 29 students. The school has two teachers and three special training volunteers who teach these students.
On a visit to the school, it was found that two teachers were taking three classes together under the shade of a tree and of the two volunteers, on was taking the class in a corridor and another in the open on the school campus.
That's not all. The school also does not even have an incharge and the two teachers and three volunteers are handling all jobs at the, from teaching, taking care of midday meals and sending details to their respective blocks.
Paramjit Kaur, a parent, said, “My three children study in this school. From the past one month, the classes are going on in a nearby gurdwara and now under a tree. I think it is high time, the education department must shift the students to a nearby school as for how many days the students will sit under a tree.”
When contacted, Gurjot Singh, district education officer, elementary, said, “The school is not under our department and it comes under the urban local body. The building belongs to the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA), so I have written to them to demolish it as per instructions from the director general school education, Punjab. On temporary basis, the classes are going on in a gurdwara.”
When asked that why students are being not shifted to a nearby school, Singh said no government school was nearby and if we shift the school to Jamalpur or Sherpur, these students would not able to reach there, as its far away.
GK Singh, director general school education, Punjab, said, “We have directed the district education officers that no classes will be conducted in unsafe building and classrooms. However, for time being, the classes can be conducted under a tree if no school is nearby. We will construct 5,000 classrooms in government schools of Punjab which are unsafe but we need time to do so.”