In these seven Chandigarh MC schools, infrastructure woes impede studies
Rented old building where a classroom size is not less than a pantry and where washrooms are being used as stores. Meanwhile pale mustard walls with paint flaking off and ancient chalkboards within the walls are making half of the alphabets invisible. About 40 students must fit in a class and sit on the torn rugged mats.
This is the condition of the government primary school (GPS) in Mauli complex, which is run by the Municipal Corporation (MC). With nine small rooms comprising a staff room, mid-day meal room and a principal’s room, school caters to 280 students in double shift.
Apart from this school, six other primary government schools are run by the MC and each of them are facing a similar neglect. In the categories of infrastructure, maintenance, boundary walls, lighting in the classroom, security guard, sweeper, hygiene, adequate teachers, playground among others, these schools have nothing to present.
HT had recently highlighted a fact that even when MC was allocated Rs 5 crore for the primary schools in the 2016-17, not even a single penny was spent on the schools.
One of the teachers at GPS, Mauli Complex said, “We keep writing to the authorities. We need tables for the teachers; walls need to be painted for better environment and even the boards need to be changed. The classrooms cannot be extended because it is a rented building.”
The condition at GPS, Railway Colony, is worse, which is catering to 220 students with only four classrooms. Here, the nursery classes have to be adjusted because there is no separate room for the students. At times, classes are held under a tin shade.
Sunita Rani, principal of Government Primary School, Railway Colony, said, “This is a land of railways so we cannot extend the school by ourselves. Colony residents have allowed us to use their park as a playground for our kids.”
She added, “MC officials keep visiting us and they are ready to give us benches. However, we cannot put those benches in the classrooms because then we will not be able to accommodate students in a small room. We have asked for more classrooms within the premises.”
Schools handed over to MC in 2010
It was in 2010 when the UT administration handed over these primary schools to the Municipal Corporation but these schools continue to be among the worst in the city lacking basic requirements as per Right to Education (RTE) Act. Since 2010, these schools have seen no development.
Government Primary School, PGI, which is run in a sarai building, does not even have a boundary wall. A gate-keeper would be a Luxury. The school caters to 113 students in five classrooms.
School head Suresh Kumar said, “Here, the number of classrooms is adequate. However, there is no playground, separate nursery room, library or even a store. I have sought construction of two new rooms for a library and a store.” Similar is the story at the schools in Butrela, Manimajra, and Sector 26.
City mayor Asha Jaswal said, “We have proposed to the UT administration to give charge of the entire primary education to us or take away the custody of these seven schools because it is difficult for us to manage half of the things. We should be given the responsibility of the entire primary education of the city and given adequate powers as well.”
She added, “We have formed a sub-committee with Heera Negi as its chairperson to resolve the issue. We have had a word with the governor too. We are scouting for land in Mauli Jagran.”
Primary schools ignoring RTE norms
As per the Right to Education Act (RTE), all schools are required to have at least one classroom for every teacher and an office-cum store for the head teacher; safe and adequate drinking water; a playground; arrangements for securing the school building by boundary wall or fencing. Teaching learning equipments for all teachers; a library, each school providing newspapers, magazines, books on all subjects including story books and play material, games and sports equipment to each class are necessary. However, none of these norms and conditions is being fulfilled by these seven schools that have around 1,500 students.
Why schools should not be transferred to the UT admn?
The MC and UT administration are in talks on the issue of handing over the charge of these seven schools to the education department. However, the UT Education department is already failing to take care of the periphery schools being run under it including government high schools and senior secondary schools in the areas of Vikas Nagar, PGI, Mauli complex, Mauli Jagran, Daria, Sarangpur, Dhanas, Sector 46, Manimajra, Kajheri, Dhanas, Hallomajra among others.