Kupwara: The Government Higher Secondary School Behnipora in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district is functioning in a three-room building and the shortage of staff is marring the quality of education.
The school upgraded in 2008 has never seen substantial accommodation and proper staff, giving a tough time to the students of over two dozen villages.
An official said that nearly 200 students were studying in 9th and 10th while in 11th and 12th classes, 300 odd students were enrolled in arts, medical and non-medical streams.
He said that of the 14 sanctioned posts of lecturers, only four were in place while the remaining 10 posts had been vacant for the past several years.
The official said that for medical and non-medical streams only Zoology, Information Technology (IT), and Electronics had permanent staff and for Botany, Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics no lecturer was posted by the concerned authorities here for long.
“In the arts stream, barring Arabic, the lecturers for the remaining subjects including Education, Political Science, English, Urdu, Functional English, and History were never posted here,” he said.
The lack of accommodation has always been a concern here due to which students are forced to take classes under the open sky and during inclement weather, they are crammed in the available three classrooms which goes against the COVID-19 SoPs.
The failure of the department to provide adequate accommodation and staff has also left the locals anguished.
“When the Education department is focusing on enrollment drive, can anybody ask the higher officials how they can retain new entrants in absence of the necessary facilities,” Sarpanch Behnipora Muhammad Kamal told Greater Kashmir. “The department should focus more on quality education and that is impossible in absence of basic facilities.”
The locals said that despite being the oldest school in the area, it had never remained a priority for the government.
They said that the school was located close to the forests and the lack of fencing posed a threat of wild animal attacks on students studying here.
The locals said that with no permanent principal posted here, the school was not functioning smoothly.
They said that they had brought these issues to the notice of the concerned authorities numerous times but to no avail.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, Deputy Chief Education Officer, Kupwara, Manzoor Ahmad Bhat acknowledged the problems being faced by the students due to the dearth of lecturers across the district.
“Hopefully, the department will fill all the vacant posts of lecturers across the district in the coming year so that the students don’t suffer,” Bhat said.