Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, June 12:
Though the Odisha Government is spending crores of rupees under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to address the problem of inadequate number of teachers in government run schools, it does not seem to have had the desired effect.
Take, for example, the Jaripatna Primary School on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar where two teachers have to take care of 70 students – as many as 50 of them tribals – split into five classes: from Class I to Class V.
The two teachers have to share the burden of teaching all five classes in this school located at Jaripatna village under Barimund gram panchayat in Bhubaneswar block set up way back in 1963. No wonder each of them has to slog for an average of seven hours a day. It is easy to imagine the attention that each student would get in this kind of a scenario.
“The students are securing poor marks in exams as the school is perennially short of teachers. It has forced the brighter students to opt for Barimund Nodal School, about 5-6 km from the village.” said Pitambar Tripathy, a villager.
Another villager Biswa Bhusan complains about the dilapidated condition of one the buildings, which poses a grave threat to the students notwithstanding the fact that it is not in use anymore. “Parents are afraid of sending their children to the school because students often play in the dilapidated building which could collapse any moment,” he says.
The School and Mass Education department has been grossly apathetic in renovating the building. he alleges.
On being asked about the sorry state of the building, the Head Master of the school Sudhakar Behera blames it on the lack of funds. “We have written to District Project Coordinator (DPC) of SSA, Khurda repeatedly for allocation of the necessary funds for the renovation of the building. But while they have responded positively, the money is yet to be sanctioned,” he says.
“After our repeated pleas over the years for a new building, the Education department constructed two new buildings under SSA in 2012 for all classes. Another building is on the verge of completion,” Behera says.
But the head master does concede that the school needs three more teachers to cope with the number of students.
The headmaster also says there is no building for running anganwadi centre in the village. As a result, the centre is being run inside the school building with 20 students and two anganwadi karmis. “Even after our repeated request, the government has failed to construct a building for the purpose,” he complains.