110 students crammed in two shabby rooms at Sopore school

Imagine 110 young students crammed into two small rooms poring over their books and taking notes. One might find it hard to believe that such a classroom exists. But that is how the students at a government-run school in Sopore area of north Kashmir go about studying daily.

The government primary school Wandakpora in Sopore education zone has 110 students. The department has posted only four teachers for these students who at times take classes jointly in congested two rooms.

A visit to the school depicts the grim scenario of the education sector in the J&K state. The infrastructural standards of this school punctures the tall claims of the government for taking the education sector to new heights.

With no permanent campus of its own, the school education department has accommodated the students of Wandakpora primary school in two rooms of a single storey Panchayat Ghar present in the area.

While the institution needs accommodation of more than five rooms for students from class 1st primary to 5th primary, the department has provided only two rooms for the accommodation of the students.

“We adjust three classes in one room and at times students take classes in open in a graveyard here,” said a school teacher.

These educational institutional institutions exist at a time when the state administration is making tall claims of filling infrastructural gaps in all educational institutions across state.

“But these tall claims remain confined to only papers. The ground reality is completely grim,” an official in planning section of the education department said.

In past, the school was operating from a shabby rented room in the area and later was merged with a nearby middle school. “But the school was again separated after the school with which it was merged got upgraded to the level of high school,” a school teacher said.

Since then the school is functioning from two rooms of a Panchayat Ghar. “The difficult part is that the officials from the concerned department always ask us to vacate the Panchayat Ghar as they have to use it for their own purpose. But our department is yet to find proper accommodation for the school,” the school teacher said.

During last week, the students of the school attended their classes under open sky due to acute shortage of classrooms in the school. “We can’t accommodate students of five classes in two rooms.  Attending classes are subject to the weather conditions as when it rains the students are set free to go home due to dearth of accommodation,” the school teacher said.

Over the years, the department has started the process for identification of land for construction of the permanent campus of the primary school. But the non-availability of land has played a spoil sport.

Chief Education Officer (CEO) Baramulla, Ghulam Muhammad Lone said they have sent the concerned ZEO to the spot to submit a report on the school. “The residents are not ready to donate land for the school which has delayed the construction of the permanent campus. But we are at it,” he said.

He said a new building for a high school is coming up adjacent to this school and students of Wandakpora school will be shifted to the building for the convenience of the students.