Abid Hussain

Budgam school, where 8 classes run in single rented room

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… and govt claims it prioritises education!

Gund (Budgam), May 29: Tall claims of the government about sound infrastructure for government-run schools notwithstanding, here is a school – a middle school which runs in a one single room.

Imagine eight different classes – from Ist primary to 8th standard – running from the same single room.

Welcome to Government Middle School (GMS), in village Gund, some 15 kms from Budgam town.  It has one room, eight different classes and 46 students.

Established in 2003 under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) as a Primary school and later upgraded to Middle school in 2011, this schools is functioning from a rented room of a two storey house, making it difficult for the students to study, and teachers to teach.

When this reporter visited the school, it was completely dark and the students were crammed and grappling for space in the office-cum-classroom. The room is so dark that without using the flash, it was impossible to get proper pictures.

Teachers at the school said that in 2011, this school was shifted to the house of one Mohammad Akbar Bhat, who provided a room of his house on rent.

Since then, the school is functioning from this single rented room, and ironically the government has even failed to pay the rent to the house-owner.

Government was supposed to pay Rs 200 as monthly rent to Bhat, but as per him, he has not received a single penny from the government during last seven years.

“When the government is not able to pay meager Rs 200 as rent, how can we expect it to provide infrastructure for the school?” locals ask.

Pertinently, in 2010, Ghulam Mohammad Sheikh, another local, had donated his personal land for the construction of a school building. However, before the work on its first storey was completed, the owner sought a stay order from the court and stopped the said work.

Later, the court vacated the stay, but the government has still failed to resume construction of the school.

Locals said that Sheikh is demanding a job in exchange of his donated land but the authorities seem to have deliberately precipitated an impasse.

Interestingly, the under-construction school building is being used as a cowshed nowadays.

By the way at this Government Middle School, there is no concept of morning assembly or any co-curricular activities.

“We don’t have washroom and you are talking about co-curricular activities,” the aggrieved students told ‘Kashmir Images’.

The five teachers posted in the school take about 40 classes in a single working day. The lack of infrastructure is forcing them to conduct classes on verandah and even on the stairs of the house.

Headmaster, Syed Mukhtar Ahmad said students are facing many difficulties. “Due to the lack of space, students are unable to concentrate on their studies,” he said.

When contacted, ZEO Beerwah, Dilshad Ahmad Banday, said, “We have informed our department about the issue.”

Asked as to why the owner is not being paid rent from the last seven years, he said, “It’s the fault of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Rent is not pending in Gund only, but in other schools as well.”

His senior, CEO Budgam, Rouf Ahmad Shahmari told this reporter, “Let me confirm it first and then accordingly I will inform you.”

Despite repeated calls and text messages, Director School Education Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Itoo could not be contacted for his comment.

Kashmir Images
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