Is it possible to run a lower primary school in a single classroom measuring 10x10 ft? It may seem amazing, but it is true in case of the Government Urdu Lower Primary School at Kolikeri here.
Here, all 41 children studying from 1 to 4 standards are compelled to learn in one classroom. To manage the situation, the teachers have worked out a formula. “First, I engage the children of 1st and 2nd standards in writing exercise and take classes for the children of 3rd and 4th standards. Once the 1st and 2nd standard children complete writing work, I take class for them and engage the remaining children into writing exercise. If the children create noise, one of the two teachers here take them outside to play”, said P.F. Gali, the teacher. But does it ensure proper teaching and learning? “Tell me what else can I do,” Mr. Gali asked.
The school is in a congested space adjacent to the local mosque since it was started four years ago. In the absence of a building of its own, the school is in a bad condition with no basic amenities.
The children have to sit on the floor and there is no drinking water facility. The children are fed midday meal and milk. But washing hands and plates is a big problem. Children have to go home to wash hands and drink water. “The presence of school is also creating problems for prayer and other works at the mosque. But somehow they are adjusting. Providing meal and milk is irritating task. Children spill food and milk and the classroom had to be cleaned for 4 or 5 times a day, he said.
Interestingly, Rs. 8.68 lakh released under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) to construct building is lying unutilised for want of lands. The officials too have failed to identify the land. Mr. Gali said there is six guntas of land belonging to Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) nearby. But repeated pleas to provide this land by Mr. Gali have gone unanswered. Fed up with the lack of amenities, parents are sending their children to the Ravivarpet school. Only those poor families who can’t afford to send their children to other schools are sending them here.
Officials in the Department of Public Instruction said instructions have been given to the Block Education Officer (BEO) to identify the land and start civil works immediately. Otherwise, the BEO concerned will be made responsible, they said.