Govt turns blind eye to government schools
Govt Turns Blind Eye To Government Schools. No toilets, broken benches, half built compound walls, no water and electricity; this is how government schools are portrayed as.
Rishika Sadam, a trainee journalist at Indian Institute of Journalism And New Media (IIJNM), visits Old City in Hyderabad to find out the shoddy state of government schools where children take to sweeping the classroom and classes are held on the premises of religious structures.
No toilets, broken benches, half built compound walls, no water and electricity; this is how government schools are portrayed as. In fact, the real picture is no different, even today many government schools in the city endure these difficulties. There are schools in Old City with no sweepers, poor infrastructure facilities and leaking roof tops. One of the reasons behind such a situation is the budget allotted. Only Rs 38.42 lakh were allotted in 2013 for the maintenance of 693 schools in the city, which accounts to Rs 5,000 per school annually. But, not all schools in the city receive the allotted amount; it usually ranges from Rs 500 to 5,000.
Officials in RVM (Rajiv Vidya Mission) say that the amount to each school is decided depending on the size and standards of the school. In such cases, it is the primary schools that suffer the most. Many primary schools operate in deteriorating conditions. With such low pay of 500 rupees allotted, the school authorities are unable to hire any sweepers due to which children are forced to sweep the school. In certain cases, the teachers of these primary schools have contributed to hire a sweeper to keep the school clean. For instance government primary school, Chandrayanagutta, functions with leaking roof and the children take turns to sweep the school daily, also it has no water connection facility.
It is not just the infrastructure problems that these schools are battling with, there are many more. Almost eight primary schools in Old City are being run in temples and mosques as they have no proper place allotted. Government Primary School, Aliabad, which earlier used to operate in a single room has been shifted to a nearby temple. “Earlier, our school was in the community hall, one day, suddenly, we were asked to vacate the hall, and as a result the school was run on the road for three days. Then the temple authorities saw us and gave a room in the temple to continue. It has been more than six months now,” said the school teacher Sharadha. The authorities say that finding a land to accommodate the classes has become a problem; hence few schools are being run in religious buildings. “It is very difficult to find a suitable land or premises to accommodate these government schools which is why a few schools run in these religious buildings,” said Subbarayudu, project officer, Rajiv Vidya Mission.
Also many primary schools in Old City have inadequate staff; the same Government Primary School has only one teacher, while there are other schools near Charminar with two teachers. In 2013, around 115 schools were shut down due to zero strength, of these around 70 per cent of them were primary schools. Of these primary schools, 59 of them were from Old City. “There was zero strength, so we had to shut them. Poor infrastructure is one of the main reasons for these dropouts,” informed Subbarao, District Educational Officer (DEO), Hyderabad. While educationalists say that poor infrastructure is not the only reason for such a dropout rate, factors like inadequate staff, no English medium, late arrival of mid day meals are also responsible. “I pay Rs 2,000 as fee to my daughter’s school which is a private English medium school. All the government schools in this area are either Urdu or Telugu medium, and in most of them there are barely any good facilities,” shared Narsiamma, a daily wage labourer from Aliabad. Keeping this issue in mind, the government had started success schools few years ago which turned out to be failure.
It is not just the primary schools, but also high schools are in an abominable situation. High schools in the city do not have playgrounds and the ones which have playgrounds are used for other purposes like parking or are given on lease for religious functions, etc. While there are schools which do not just have good infrastructure but are also digitally equipped, like the school near Phoolbagh Chaman which even provides computer facility to the students which is a positive sign of development, but majority of government schools are still on the darker side of the picture.