Four government schools in flood-affected Kodagu may be shut permanently or merged with bigger schools as families have migrated to other villages and towns in the district after the devastating calamity.
With little hopes of them returning to the villages after having found employment in other places, the schools, which have been locked up since last year, are staring at shutdown in the absence of students. The schools recorded zero admissions this year.
These schools, located at Kaloor, Second Monnangeri, Arekal, and Heravanadu, bore the brunt of floods and landslips last year and this year too. Following the tragedy last year, flood victims from the villages moved to other towns after losing their livelihood and property.
The schools had about 100 to 150 students.
Kodagu Deputy Director of Public Instruction P.S. Machado told The Hindu that the schools were not functioning since the children took admissions elsewhere following their parents’ relocation. “We cannot keep the schools open without children, and so teachers and staff have been deputed to other schools as a temporary measure,” he added.
Mr. Machado, however, added that the schools may be reopened provided each of them get at least five children. The DDPI maintained that the buildings of the four schools were in good condition.
A few private schools, including a residential school in Ponnampet, has come forward to provide education to the flood victims’ children, including from the four places, and this has driven parents to consider admissions in such schools, which have also promised to look after their accommodation.
“We have data on the children who took transfer certificates for admissions in other schools. Some have taken admissions in Sampaje, Madikeri and Ponnampet. It was the parents’ wish to shift their children to deal with the situation that arose after the calamity,” Mr. Machado said.
About the possibility of children returning to their respective villages and taking readmission in the schools, he said: “If they return, we shall run classes provided we get the sufficient strength, at least five students per school. Also, we cannot shift the teachers to other schools permanently until five years as per the government policy.”
Repair works delayed
Intermittent rains have hampered restoration of school buildings damaged in the recent floods in Kodagu.
At least 161 classrooms in government school buildings across the district have suffered damages in heavy rains and floods in August this year. The damage to classrooms was more than that reported last year. About 68 classrooms had been damaged in the rains last year and ₹85 lakh was spent on repairs.
A sum of ₹3 crore had been estimated for carrying out repair works this year. “The classrooms identified for repairs are not in unsafe conditions. Classes can be held after some repairs. They are not in bad shape,” said Mr. Machado. He said each classroom will get around ₹2 lakh for the repairs. Kodagu has 700 schools and only a few schools need repairs, he added.