No electricity for these bright faces of future at PMC-run school in Wanowrie
Class 6 student Damini Tambe was overjoyed at the end of her final exams on Monday. She was also happy that almost a month-long struggle of giving exams in the suffocating heat of classrooms without electricity, was over, at last.
Straining their eyes
Like her, all other students of Krantiveer Vasudev Balavant Phadke Vidhyalaya in Wanowrie had been struggling to give their final exams, straining their eyes to write their exams in the dark.
Without electricity, the teachers had provided battery-operated emergency lights for classrooms, to beat the darkness.
According to the teachers in the school, who requested anonymity citing threat to their job, the PMC-run school had not paid the electricity bill for the past few months, resulting in Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDLC) officials to disconnect their connection.
Not aware, say officials
The PMC authorities said they were not aware about the situation and would work to improve it. “We were not aware of such a situation in the school in our area. It is very unfortunate that the students had to suffer during their exams, and we will look into the matter at the earliest opportunity,” said Pune Municipal Corporation zonal officer, Dnyaneshwar Molak said.
Summer adds to woes
For the students though the experience was horrible particularly during summer.
“We have been managing to write our exams, with the help of small emergency lights and no fans. Each table or row was not provided with the lights. There were only two lights per classroom. It was a very bad experience for us and I am relieved that it is over, at last,” said Tambe.
Another student from Class 7 requesting anonymity, agreed and said, “Some of us did complain to the teachers about the situation but it was ignored.
“We don’t want to create problems by complaining to our parents. We thought the school might take action against us or that might even have an effect on our exam papers.”
Owing to this reason, most parents were unaware of the situation. “I usually drop my child near the gate but don’t know what actually is happening inside. We trusted that the teachers would take care of our children, but if this is true then we truly have been cheated. Now, whom should we blame if the performance of our children suffers because of this?,” said Someshwar Gaikwad, parent of a Class 3 student.
“The government, on paper, has been claiming to take great efforts to make government schools better, but the officials responsible to implement them are wasting the resources,” he added.
In addition to the lack of electricity, the school is in a dismal state of infrastructure with broken furniture in every classroom, torn books, and a terrace dumped with construction material and abandoned furniture.