Students of Class IX sit on the floor during classes at upgraded high school, Khukradih, on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Upgraded high school in Khukradih, located about 13km from Jamshedpur, is struggling to stay afloat and impart education to its 576 students.
Ironical as it sounds, the cradle that was upgraded to a high school in 2011 under the RTE Act, 2009, does not have sufficient space or seating arrangement to accommodate all its students.
What’s worse, staff crunch and no funds are adding to students’ woes.
The cradle, which teaches from classes I to X, has 10 rooms. Of them, seven are used to conduct classes. But the classrooms exist in name only. Due to a shortage of desks and benches, many high school students are compelled to sit on the floor.
The remaining three rooms serve as a library-cum-laboratory, an office and a computer room. Here too, four out of the seven computers do not work, while some books and instruments have gone missing from the library-cum-laboratory.
“It is the festive season and lots of students are not coming to school. Otherwise, we would have also sat outside classrooms as there is no space to accommodate the full strength. However, we somehow manage,” said Sunita Samad, a Class X student.
Headmistress Sunita Tiwary admitted the problems, saying she had written to the district education officer, seeking funds to expand the school.
“But we were told there was no space to add buildings. We then requested if we could build an extra floor, but are yet to get any response. The villagers even took it upon themselves and checked out the status of a vacant plot adjacent to the school, but nothing happened,” rued Tiwary.
Sources at the school further claimed that the district authorities had diverted a fund of Rs 59 lakh to a nearby cradle.
District education officer Ashok Kumar Sharma, when contacted, said the school was yet to receive an NOC from the circle officer regarding the land in question. As for the funds, he said: “The grant was lying idle and hence, we sanctioned it to another school.”
The school has 23 sanctioned posts for teachers. Of these, 12 are for middle school and the remaining for high school. Currently, seven posts in the middle schools are occupied, while all positions at high school are vacant.
So, middle school teachers, none of them holding a BED degree, take high school classes. This year, the school just managed a 22 per cent pass percentage at matric exams. Out of 76, only one pupil managed to bag first division.
The high school at Khukradih, however, is not a lone sufferer.
About three kilometres away, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Jamshedpur, shares a similar fate. For 285 girls enrolled in the cradle, there are just 30 desks. Students of classes VI, VIII and XI sit on the floor. The hostel has less than 100 cots and a majority of girls use mattresses to sleep on the floor.
“We were allotted funds when the school started in 2007. Thereafter, we received nothing. Many students have to sit on the floor during classes. However, our results have been very good over the years,” said a teacher.