The veranda at the Traveller’s Bungalow of the Highways Department in Karipatti along the Salem – Ulundurpet National Highway 79 serves as a classroom for 35 students of Standard VI, while 64 students of Standard IX study under a cement roof tile. The situation turns pitiable during sunny days and rainy days as they have to suffer under scorching sun and get drenched in rain.

This has been the plight of students of Government High School in Karipatti, near Ayodhiyapattinam, for the last five years after their school was demolished for widening of the National Highway.

Students of Standards VII, VIII, and X were shifted to nearby elementary school as additional rooms were available there. The lone room in the building accommodates 13 teaching and two non-teaching staff and doubles up as office for headmaster and administration.

“At times snakes and insects enter the classrooms as the premises have bushes,” say students. In the absence of toilet facilities they are forced use open spaces. Students have to go to the elementary school, about 500 metres away, for getting their food from the noon-meal centre, and return to the classrooms.

The total strength in teh school has falled from 299 students last year to 236 this year. Parents say that absence of toilet facilities and security have forced them to move their children to a nearby school.

When contacted, Chief Educational Officer R. Eswaran told <i>The Hindu</i> that the government had sanctioned Rs. 23.50 lakh for a new building that is to come up in 3.5 acres. Apart from it, six classrooms would be constructed under funds from Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.“Work will begin soon and classes will be ready by the next academic year,” he added.