Students of classes I to VIII forced to share six rooms
At the Panchayat Union Middle School in Chinna Mettupalayam, stands a building with two classrooms. It is out of bounds for the students as the structure is dilapidated.
It used to house students of Classes V and VI, evident from the smudged writings on the blackboards. Today, one of the rooms is locked and the other is used as the store room for groceries and utensils used for cooking noon meal.
In both the rooms, portions of concrete from the roof have fallen at many places, exposing the iron roads that have rusted with age. In the room that housed Class VI students, the school management had placed a wooden pole to support the roof. The school management says the State Government upgrading the school from primary to middle in 2008, has left the institution with only six classrooms to house students from classes I to VIII.
The school has two more blocks – one with two classrooms each on the ground and first floors and another with two classrooms on the ground floor.
To overcome the shortage of two classrooms, the school management has grouped students of classes II and III and IV and V. It justifies the grouping saying that since the school has adopted the ‘Activity Based Learning’ methodology for teaching-learning purposes, it was able to manage the shortage.
The school has 154 students in eight classes. Of those 74 are girls. The school has a noon meal kitchen that is far worse than the two abandoned classrooms. The school management says that the cook suffers the most as she has to keep the lid partially closed while stirring sambar or rasam fearing the fall of concrete chips or pieces from the exposed rusted iron rods.
In some places even the iron rods are not there. Only the stones used in concrete are visible.
The room that serves as the kitchen is coated with soot. The members blame it on the absence of ventilation.
Corporation Councillor representing the area – Ward 27’s K. Marimuthu – raised the issue in the Corporation Council meeting on Thursday last.
But the Corporation officials said that since the school was not under the civic body’s control, there was little they could do. The school management says it contacted the Block Development Office for repair. It sent a representation with photographs about six months but nothing much came of it. Efforts to reach the Block Development Officer, S.S. Kulam, failed. Sources in the panchayat administration at the Collectorate say only if the S.S. Kulam Panchayat Union passes a resolution, will the panchayat administration be able to prepare estimates and execute the work.