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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

Divine intervention needed to improve condition of this state-run school in Lucknow

Welcome to this state-run primary school in Lucknow’s Qila Mohammadi Nagar under Aashiana police station, sans basic wherewithal-- power connection, boundary wall, sanitation and other base facilities.

education Updated: Aug 14, 2019 17:40 IST
Rajeev Mullick
Rajeev Mullick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Welcome to this state-run primary school in Lucknow’s Qila Mohammadi Nagar under Aashiana police station, sans basic wherewithal-- power connection, boundary wall, sanitation and other base facilities.
Welcome to this state-run primary school in Lucknow’s Qila Mohammadi Nagar under Aashiana police station, sans basic wherewithal-- power connection, boundary wall, sanitation and other base facilities.(HT photo)
         

In the state capital, yet it has in its belly miseries that one sees mostly in remote areas of the state, repeated claims of the government of having provided amenities to its schools notwithstanding.

Welcome to this state-run primary school in Lucknow’s Qila Mohammadi Nagar under Aashiana police station, sans basic wherewithal-- power connection, boundary wall, sanitation and other base facilities.

Interestingly, the school does boast of fans, bulbs, electricity wiring, but doesn’t have the all important power connection, forcing its around 150 students sweat it out in hot and humid conditions.

Sonam Bharti, a class 5 student, said, “There is a ceiling fan in our class. But due to absence of power connection, we have to fan ourselves to beat the heat.” Aman Gupta, a class 2 student of this school said, “It is difficult to concentrate on studies as we had to fan ourselves all the time.”

Anil Kumar, who identified himself as a senior teacher of the school, said, “We will be happy if government gives us power connection. Our teachers are ready to bear the monthly expenses. At least students will be able to study properly under fan and light.”

The school has three regular teachers of which one was not in the school as she had to go for some meeting and another teacher was on leave. Besides, there are shiksha mitras who assist teachers in teaching work.

NO SCHOOL UNIFORM YET

A reality check done by HT finds that students of this school are still waiting for the new set of uniform—as announced by chief minister Yogi Adityanath—led state dispensation. Most of the children in the school are seen wearing old worn out uniform.

Block education officer, Archana Yadav said, “The uniform will be made available soon. Delay in distribution for school uniform is because there was a revised terms and condition for purchase of uniform. This resulted in delay. But shoes were given to every student.”

More than 1.57 crore students studying in government-run primary and upper primary schools in Uttar Pradesh were to get two new sets of uniform each after the summer vacation.

Rs 40 crore was set aside for free distribution of uniforms to students.

Another Rs 110 crore has been earmarked for distribution of school bags in 2019-20. For these new uniforms, the state government had increased the budget from Rs 200 a set to Rs 300 a set. This allocation is apart from the budget for shoes, socks, neckties and sweaters.

Most of the students in this primary school were spotted wearing worn out chappals. Only a handful of students were wearing shoes.
Most of the students in this primary school were spotted wearing worn out chappals. Only a handful of students were wearing shoes. ( HT photo )

“This year, an elaborate arrangement was put in place to ensure that quality standards are adhered to,” said additional chief secretary Renuka Kumar in a letter to the director of basic education Sarvendra Vikram Bahadur Singh. “Providing a uniform with the prescribed colour is not enough.”

After coming to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, the Yogi Adityantah government decided to replace the khaki uniforms, used for the past five years in the state-run schools, with brighter ones.

WHERE ARE BLACK SHOES?

Most of the students in this primary school were spotted wearing worn out chappals. Only a handful of students were wearing shoes. However, teacher Anil Kumar said students received their new pair of shoes but prefer to come in slippers.

“We have distributed shoes. Some did not get because there was issue with sizes. Those shoes have gone for replacement. Soon we will get those and distribute it to students,” said Kumar.

The state government had allocated Rs 300 crore for providing pair of shoes, two pairs of socks and a sweater free of cost to the students of class I-VII studying in schools run by Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Board.

Last year, HT brought out a report highlighting the condition of shoes that were distributed to students in Diwali 2017 and which were in tatters by Holi 2018.

Within six months of distribution of new pair of shoes, many kids held their shoes together with rubber bands, others with laces.

No furniture, students sit on mattresses, no boundary wall

The school has 150 students but does not have a single piece of furniture. As a result, students are forced to sit on mattresses on floor.

Multiple classes are being run in 2 rooms with blackboard on opposite walls for two separate classes, Kumar said.

State government has been pushing for better facilities for students in government schools, but they are still a distant dream for many schools in the state. This year Uttar Pradesh government made a provision of Rs 500 crore for the development of infrastructural facilities in primary and upper primary schools.

IN ABSENCE OF WALL, CATTLE BARGE IN

Students’ day start by shooing cattle away from the campus to enter the premises. Since the school does not have boundary walls, cattle venture out on the campus. Cow dung makes the vicinity dirty.

“Every day we have to chase cows out of our school,” said a student.

The only source of drinking water for the students is a handpump just outside the school. Of two toilets, one is reserved for the staff.

Despite the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have separate toilets for boys and girls, 150 children manage with one toilet.

When contacted, Basic Shiksha Adhikari (BSA)Amar Kant Singh said, “Many of the problems that confront this school are because of the laxity of block education officer and head teacher of the school. For power connection money has been sanctioned. For poor infrastructure like no boundary wall or furniture, they cannot be blamed as no money has reached us for this purpose.”

HEAD TEACHER INCHARGE SUSPENDED
  • Hours after HT carried out a reality check on Tuesday morning, the basic education department suspended Arti Singh, incharge head teacher of primary school Qila Mohammadi Nagar. Block education officer, Archana Yadav took this action because teacher Arti Singh was found guilty of leaving the school after signing the attendance register. BEO held Arti guilty of not enforcing students to come in new uniform and shoes while it has been told by education department. She was held responsible for poor upkeep of the school with cattle all around. She was found guilty of misusing composite grant and ignoring directives of senior officials. To probe into the charges against Arti Singh, basic education department has asked block education officer of Malihabad area to investigate and submit the findings to basic siksha adhikari, Amar Kant Singh within 15 days. BEO Archana Yadav also served showcause notice to Neetu Singh, a shiksha mitra of primary school for not ensuring safety of the students during mid-day meal when school is surrounded by cattle

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 17:37 IST

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