Andhra Pradesh

Doubts linger over maintenance

The government schools in Chittoor district have undergone a massive transformation when it comes to infrastructure and beautification in the first phase of ‘Mana Badi Nadu-Nedu’ programme.

Even as the students cannot wait to enjoy the refurbished campuses that are all set to reopen on August 16, there is an air of curiosity among teachers and the parents over the maintenance of the modern amenities.

More than 1,500 campuses including elementary and high schools have witnessed phenomenal changes amid criticisms on the pending bills and carrying out repairs to certain weak structures instead of replacing them with new ones. However, the government schools have certainly become an eyesore to their counterparts in the private sector when it comes to modern amenities.

The parents’ committees are in a jubilant mood over the Nadu-Nedu works. However, the worry of the headmasters of many schools, especially those in remote areas is the safety of the infrastructure. The schools now have ceiling fans, quality furniture, and 55-inch smart television sets and other gadgets.

The teachers are worried a good number of schools have a history of thefts, with many incidents of miscreants making good with whatever they could steal including eggs supplied for the midday meals. Many teachers say that there is no clarity on posting watchmen for guarding the campuses at night and during holidays.

After sundown, a majority of the schools in the rural areas get deserted, making them vulnerable to thefts. “Gamblers and tipplers spending their time on the campuses is not rare. Previously, we used to worry about the safety of water taps, stationary and midday meal provisions. In the absence of watchmen, miscreant would set their eyes on costly furniture and electronic gadgets,” says a school headmaster from Thottambedu mandal, which reported incidents of thefts from many schools in the recent years.

A high school headmaster in KVB Puram mandal is worried over the maintenance of toilets. “We can’t stop appreciating the new toilets. Last year, there was an initiative to engage a person with a payment of ₹5,000 a month for cleaning, but it never worked out. With a paltry ₹1,000 a month now, many stopped attending to their cleaning work or have been irregular. In case of delay in payment, maintenance of the toilets will be difficult,” he points out.

District Education Officer Sriram Purushottam says that 90% of the Nadu-Nedu works have been completed and the rest would be finished on a war-footing. “The programme will revolutionise school education. We are restoring payment of ₹5,000 per month for maintenance of toilets from August,” the DEO said.


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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 3:51:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/doubts-linger-over-maintenance/article35690449.ece

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