344 schools upgraded from middle to high school in 2011-12
For G.Naveen Kumar, a class 7 student of the Government High School at Kavalkaranpatty near Thogamalai in Karur district, the open site below a tree is the classroom.
The teacher, who has to handle a class of 58 children , finds it extremely difficult to keep the children oriented to the class amidst all the din created by vehicles plying on the Tiruchi-Thogamalai-Karur main road.
She also has to keep moving her class all through the day depending on the sun’s movement to ensure that her students stay in the shade. School teachers, who preferred not to be quoted, say that the school was upgraded from middle to high school in 2011-12, but nothing has improved in terms of facilities.
Though the upgradation has been well received by the parents, teachers, and children of Kavalkaranpatty, the government had not created concomitant infrastructure such as additional buildings, staff room, sanitation, and other facilities.
As against the total requirement of at least eight rooms, the school is functioning with just four rooms. It doesn’t have a compound, adequate furniture for students, and proper sanitation facilities.
“We couldn’t keep the books intact due to heavy wind. We are forced to adjust ourselves against wind and heat. We will be happy if we get a protected classroom,” says Naveen Kumar.
Enquiries revealed that this is not the only upgraded school that lacks infrastructure facilities. Many of the 344 schools, which were upgraded in 2011-12 by the State government , had not yet been provided with additional classrooms and other facilities as per the requirements of a high school.
Apart from the basic infrastructure, the schools also lack furniture for students, library, teaching, and sports materials. K.Ganesan, block president, Tamil Nadu Government Teachers’ Association, who is also the headmaster-in-charge of Government High School, Kavalkaranpatty, told The Hindu that there was an urgent need to create necessary infrastructure in most of the 344 upgraded schools in the State.
The association had sent memorandums to government and district-level officials in this regard, and had also received positive responses from them, he said.