Four days after winter vacations ended and classwork in schools across Kashmir re-started, students of this government middle school in Frislan of Pahalgam must still tread mounds of accumulated snow in the compound and corridors of its modest building.
Pictures of several feet of snow students and teachers alike tread through to reach their classrooms go to show callousness of authorities towards the immense inconvenience.
Dozens of schools in remote villages across Kashmir were found snowbound as classes resumed after three months of winter vacation, resulting in thin attendance of students.
The government middle school Frislan falls under jurisdiction of zone Ashmuqam in Anantnag district of south Kashmir. The students who joined the school with much enthusiasm and determination were apparently disappointed to see the school building difficult to reach.
“Snow has got accumulated in our classrooms and corridors which creates impediments for us while entering,” said Waheeda Jan, a class 7th student of the school.
The students mostly in their casuals tread in a queue to pass through the narrow approach road leading to their school, dug through accumulated snow by laborers hired by the staff.
“It takes 15 minutes for us to reach our school from home. But we get frightened while passing this narrow lane covered with snow,” Jan said.
The school has four teachers for its 150 students, contrary to norms which lay down a staff strength of eight for smooth functioning of classes.
“It is not only about snow clearance but generally the department has ignored this school on other fronts as well. Despite having huge enrollment the school lacks adequate accommodation,” said Fayaz Ahmad, a local resident, adding that the official apathy mars the enthusiasm of the schoolchildren.
Earlier, director school education Kashmir had stated that the department was collecting details of snowbound educational institutions.
But no snow clearance was undertaken in many schools since opening after winter vacations.
Chief education officer (CEO) Anantnag, Abdul Rub Shad admitted that the Frislan school witnessed a very thin attendance due to accumulation of snow in its premises and the road leading to this school.
“Directions were given to the concerned ZEO after which an approach road was made for the students to attend the classes. But the attendance is thin,” Shad said.