Sad tale of unsafe classrooms
While the state education department and district education officials are busy in converting government schools across the state into smart ones by providing necessary facilities, there are certain schools in the district where students are still waiting for basic amenities such as safe classrooms to sit in.
There are around 60 classrooms in 15 government schools of the district, which were declared unsafe by the public works department (PWD) during the last two to three years. The district authorities have written to the state education department time and again to provide funds for the construction of new rooms, but so far no funds have been released for the purpose.
In many government schools, the shortage of rooms has forced schools to accommodate the students in corridors and in the open or two to three sections are made to sit in one classroom. That many government senior secondary schools are in a state of neglect can be gauged from the fact that classes for over 200 students are being held in science and mathematics laboratories and libraries of schools.
The state and central governments had sent funds in crores for the beautification of the school buildings, repair work, purchasing equipment for sports, but no funds have been released to provide the basic infrastructure (classrooms) to the schools.
Ravi Kumar, a Class 7 student, said, “For the past one year, I have been attending classes in corridors and in such a cold weather, it becomes difficult to sit on mats. Due to unsafe classrooms, all the sections of Class 7 are accommodated in the verandah. The authorities must release funds for new classrooms so that students can attend classes under the comfort a roof.”
GOVERNMENT PRIMARY SCHOOL, MANGLI UTCHI
Roots of a 12-year-old ‘peepal’ tree entered classrooms of the school, Utchi Mangli, 4-5 years ago damaging the roofs and walls of four classrooms. These rooms were later declared unsafe by the PWD. Since then, students of Classes 1 to 5 have been accommodated in other rooms of the school.
However, due to dampness in walls of four rooms for the past one year, teachers are forced to take classes in the open under trees. The school has a total strength of 114 students from the pre-primary class to Class-5. There are 26 students in the pre-primary class, 13 in Class 1, 24 in Class 2, 13 in Class 3, 16 in Class 4 and 22 in Class 5.
Toilets are also in a deplorable condition and girls and boys are using a common toilet as, out of the four toilets, three are non-functional.
A teacher of the school, requesting anonymity, said, “The four existing classrooms need major repairs and, whenever it the weather is sunny, we make students sit in the open on mats to take classes. However, during frosty weather, we are forced to hold classes in damp classrooms.”
GOVERNMENT PRIMARY SCHOOL (GIRLS), SAMRALA
Five classrooms of the total eight were declared unsafe in 2018 and since then authorities have been facing problems in conducting classes. The school has a strength of 183 students in eight sections. Teachers confirmed that wide cracks had appeared on the roofs of five rooms, which were also marred with continuous leakages that ultimately forced the PWD to certify them dangerous.
Head teacher Harmandeep Kaur said, “We took two rooms near the school on rent to accommodate students. However, we require three more rooms to accommodate the students.”
GOVERNMENT SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL, RASULRA, KHANNA
The school has a total of 14 classrooms, out of which six have been declared unsafe. The school has a strength of 490 students and 14 sections have been accommodated in laboratories, library and other rooms. Many students have also been accommodated under a shed.
Principal Bhupinder Kaur, said, “We only have eight classrooms, which are insufficient to ensure a proper learning environment to students.”
“We have a science laboratory, a computer laboratory and a library where four sections have been adjusted. Two sections have been accommodated under a shed. This arrangement was made in 2017,” she said.
GOVERNMENT HIGH SCHOOL, SUNET
Around 300 students of Classes 6 and 7 of Sunet’s Government High School have been attending classes in corridors for the past one year after the PWD declared one of the school’s two blocks unsafe in the second week of August last year.
The ‘unsafe’ block had nine rooms, five of which were classrooms while the remaining ones were being used as an office, a clerk room, a home science laboratory and a chowkidar room.
Officiating in-charge of the school, Manju Bala, said, “It is becoming difficult to conduct classes in cold weather in corridors. However, we have written to the district education office regarding the problem and a private company has also agreed to construct new classrooms in the school, but work has not started.”
District education office (secondary) Swaranjit Kaur, said, “Many industrialists have agreed to construct classrooms in government schools and, recently, a foundation stone was laid at Government Senior Secondary School, Ladhowal, to construct new classrooms by the Vardhman group. The same company will construct new classrooms at Government High School, Sunet, also.”
When asked about unsafe classrooms in many other schools of the district, she said, “These schools are also on our priority list and all efforts are being made to provide best education facilities in all schools.”
Director public instructions (elementary) Inderjit Singh said, “For constructing new classrooms, a huge amount of funds are required. We have already identified the schools and the state education department has the data where more classrooms are needed. We have also written to the Centre to provide funds for classrooms.”
Despite repeated attempts, district education officer (DEO, elementary) Rajinder Kaur was not available for comments.
Details of schools with total number of students and unsafe classrooms:
GPS, Mangli Utchi
No of students: 114
Total classrooms: 9 (Five classrooms have dampness in the walls and need major repairs)
Unsafe classrooms: 4
Teachers are forced to hold classes in the open.
GPS (Girls), Samrala
No of students: 183
No of classrooms: 8 (School authorities have accommodated two sections in rented rooms near the school building)
Unsafe classrooms: 5
Government Senior Secondary School, Rasulra
Unsafe classrooms: 6
The 14 sections have been accommodated in school laboratories, sheds and library.
GMS, Gursar Kounkey
Unsafe classrooms: 3 classrooms and one verandah
The school needs a computer room and a mathematics laboratory. One room is required for the office also.
GHS (Girls), Kamalpura
Unsafe classrooms: 2
Girl students have been accommodated in the rooms, which are not unsafe, but need a major repairs. The school building was constructed in 1958 and there is a need to repair six classrooms to make them safer for use.
Other schools with unsafe rooms
GPS Kounke Khurd: 4
GPS Branch 5, Khanna: 2
GMS, Kado Rohana - 2+verandah
GHS, Kamalpura: 2
GSSS, Dhanansu: 9
GSSS, Koom Kalan: 4
GPS, Taderpur: 3
GPS, Chahlan: 2
GPS, Kotala Dhak: 2
GPS, Dhillon Patti: 2
GPS, Sunet: 9