An uprooted tree remains in the same place even after a fortnight

Government schools, and also some private schools, lacking basic infrastructural facilities is not unusual, but even the state of the office of School Education Department, a supervisory body, at Tallakulam in Madurai is no different.

Buildings constructed as early as 1916, dark and spooky corridors, open pathways that turn slushy during rains, insufficient parking space and many more problems plague the Tallakulam campus that houses offices of the Chief Educational Officer (CEO) and Inspector of Matriculation Schools.

The campus also accommodates offices of three District Educational Officers of Madurai, Melur and Usilampatti. Additional CEO (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan), District Inspector of Physical Education (DIPE) and others also share the same campus.

Though it is an important government establishment, visited by hundreds of people, the upkeep of the campus is far from satisfactory. “A huge tree in the campus was uprooted during rain and heavy wind on May 27. But the timber has not been removed till date,” rued an officer seeking anonymity.

When contacted, a top-level Education Department official said they could not remove the tree because it would lead to legal problems. “Our responsibility is restricted to informing the Public Works Department (PWD) and we did it. Now, it is up to the PWD to remove it.”

Another employee of the department pointed out that it was more than two months since the PWD completed renovation of the building occupied by the CEO and her subordinates. Yet, it had not been handed over formally to the Education Department.

There were about 12 clerical staff, two superintendents and two personal assistants to the CEO apart from menial staff in the CEO’s office. Last year, all of them were asked to shift to a meeting hall until the completion of the renovation work.

“The work got over in March this year. But we are continuing to work from the meeting hall. The renovated building is being used only as an extension counter to distribute application forms for examinations conducted by Teachers Recruitment Board,” the employee said.

Concurring with him, another staff said the DIPE’s office had not been provided even with basic a facilities like telephone. A senior most Physical Director of a government higher secondary school in the district had been posted as DIPE (in-charge), with the responsibility of inspecting hundreds of schools in the district. But she does not have a vehicle.

“We do not complain about all these things because we are used to them. But there is no denial of the fact that the Education Department does require a better treatment,” said another employee, on condition of anonymity.