The Department Of School Education Kashmir is risking lives of students of Government Boys Primary School at Wakherwan in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district by conducting their classes in an unsafe and unhygienic building.
The Primary school at Wakherwan village is housed in a three room single storey building.
Ghulam Mohammad Mir, a villager said that the building was constructed in 1980s and over these years it started dilapidating due to lack of maintenance by concerned authorities.
“The walls of the building have wide cracks, windows are broken and without window panes. The ceiling too is broken,” he said.
“Our village has more than 200 households and has a decent population of school going children but majority of parents have stopped sending their kids to the school,” Mir said, adding that the building is unsafe and can collapse anytime. He said that around 25 students, mostly from poor families who cannot afford to send their kids to private schools, are enrolled in the said institution.
The villagers said that the school environment is unhygenic. “ A stable can be seen sharing walls with the school building on one side and on other side there is a cowshed; heaps of cow dung, dirt and fallen tree trunks fill the small yard of the school,” the villagers said.
Another villager, Mohammad Ashraf said that the floor of the class rooms often become dirty after bird poop falls on to them from the attic through wide holes of the broken ceiling.
“Neat and clean environment is a pre-requisite for an institution like a primary school because teachers often start educating tender kids on cleanliness,” he said , adding that authorities put a bad example before their kids . He said that unhygienic school environment serves as a source of infection and the stink causes distraction in regular class work.
The villagers said that they pleaded with authorities for relocation of the school but to no avail. “There are more than 800 kanals of state land (chariae) in our village which can be used for the purpose of constructing of the school,” the villagers said.
Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Mohammad Dar said that he held a meeting with villagers of the residents who informed him about the available land.
“A new building will be constructed at the available land which is very suitable for the said purpose and the school will be relocated to the new building,” he said.