Government schools in and around Ranchi are finally getting their infrastructure in place thanks to the Right to Education Act, and students could not be happier.
At a middle school in Ranchi’s Karamtoli Chowk near Bariatu, the children cannot stop gushing about the new boundary wall and toilets.
“Now we have new toilets and boundary walls,” squealed Sunita Toppo, a Class VIII student. Explaining why these two new additions were so important, Sangeeta Kumari of Class VI said: “When there were no walls, stray animals would enter the school premises and graze freely, stopping us from venturing out during lunch break. And the clean toilet is a luxury we could only dream about.”
Other students too expressed their happiness with the new infrastructure courtesy the state HRD department, which has directed all district superintendents of education (DSE) to construct boundary walls, toilets and repair classrooms and kitchens as stipulated by the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
The picture is bleak in Jharkhand. Most state-run schools do not have adequate number of classrooms, separate toilets for girls, blackboards, drinking water supply and electricity.
However, in Ranchi district, with 2,578 primary and middle schools spread over urban and rural pockets, construction work in schools are going on at a steady pace.
At the school in Karamtoli Chowk, masons are busy putting up a seven-and-a-half-feet wall. Work is expected to be completed in the next 15 days. There are 409 students in the school enrolled in classes I to VIII.
Similar work is going on in 600 state-run primary and middle schools in the district in the first phase, which ends in June. The remaining schools will be taken up in the second phase.
District superintended of education (DSE) Jayant Mishra said top priority was being given to schools which were located on the roadside, as well as those which lacked basic facilities like proper classooms, toilets and kitchen sheds.
According to officials, funds allocated for different schools vary between Rs 2.3 lakh and Rs 5.6 lakh, depending on the nature and extent of work required.
“We have allocated funds according to the requirements of each school. It is up to the school to use the money judiciously,” the DSE said.
Principal of the Karamtoli Chowk school S. Prasad said the institution was allocated Rs 2.4 lakh.
Ajay Kumar, principal of a middle school in Nagri, said with the Rs 1.98 lakh that the school was allotted initially, a toilet was built and classrooms repaired. With the next allocation, the boundary wall would be built.