Some of the classes are held inside a temple located very close to the school
The Adi Dravidar Welfare Middle School in Thirumangalam is literally a ‘temple of learning.'
With just four classrooms to accommodate its nearly-300 students, teachers hold some of the classes inside a temple located very close to the school.
According to R. Kalpana, a student of class VII, on Thursdays and other days when there is a special prayer at the temple, teachers have no choice but to somehow take class on the school premises or temporarily suspend them. The school does not have a playground.
Teachers said holding the morning Assembly every day was a big challenge as there was hardly any space to assemble the 300-odd children together.
Inadequate space is not the only issue the school faces. It has several other problems.
The school building was constructed in 1964 and the campus gets inundated every monsoon, as the area is at a low level. “On rainy days, classes take place with much difficulty as the old and damaged roof leaks. It becomes extremely difficult especially when we have examinations. We would have to sweep out the stagnant water ourselves before sitting for the examination,” says a student.
Teachers at the school said that often, they would find huts put up overnight on the school premises. “Encroachment is a major problem,” said one of the senior teachers. The school has four rooms where classes are held, two of which were constructed using donations received, according to J. Shyam Sunder, zonal coordinator, Institute of Human Rights Education, who has been involved in training school teachers.
Toilet facilities are also inadequate.
“The boy's latrine has been locked due to the lack of water and a proper drainage system. A toilet for teaching staff was constructed a last month with funds from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan,” he adds. Students also pointed to the unhygienic condition and stench in their toilets.
However, students seem happy about the quality of teaching in the school. Drinking water and electricity are also available, they said.
When contacted, an official of the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department said a petition from the school on the need for more land and to resolve a land encroachment dispute of the school is pending with the Chennai Collector.