TAMIL NADU

Poor infrastructure plagues EGS school

Needs attention: With no facilities, the students of the school at Ellamadai village in Nanjai Gobi Panchayat, set up under the Education Guarantee Scheme, sit in the open to attend classes.

Needs attention: With no facilities, the students of the school at Ellamadai village in Nanjai Gobi Panchayat, set up under the Education Guarantee Scheme, sit in the open to attend classes.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: M. GOVARTHAN

Karthik Madhavan

School functions in two group houses; noon meal is not prepared as there is no place to cook

GOBICHETTIPALAYAM: In the midst of a housing colony, consisting mostly of group houses or ‘Thoguppu Veedugal’, in Ellamadai village in Nanjai Gobi panchayat sit a group of children.

In their uniform and school bag, the students’ group seems an oddity, as there appears to be no school in the vicinity.

A closer look, however, reveals that there is indeed one. Fifty-nine students, including 26 girls, study in the school, which the government set up under the Education Guarantee Scheme in 2006.

The school, though in its third academic year, continues to function from the two group houses, each of which is nothing more than a room of nearly 80 sq.ft. In the houses there is hardly any infrastructure required of a school. The flooring is bad with portion of cement coming off, it is full of undulations, and the ceiling is worse. Concrete has fallen off in many places to expose rusted iron rods.

Sources in the school say the students usually sit outside, in the open as the buildings are unsafe and go in only during rain.

At the Ellamadai school the students attend not only the classes in the open but also nature’s call.

The sources say the students somehow manage as they are below 10 years. The plight of the two women teachers is worse.

The next problem in the school is the absence of a safe place to cook noon meal. They say as there is no place, noon meal is not prepared. This means that the students do not get the eggs and pulses the State Government provides. They just take home-made lunch.

The worst of it all is that the school does not have teachers of its own, says Gobichettipalayam Panchayat Union Councillor K.K. Gunasekar. The two teachers are on deputation from the nearby Karatadipalayam school.

There is, however, one saving grace. A village elder has come forward to bear the school’s rent and electricity expenses.

He has been paying the rent and power charges ever since the school came into being, the Councillor adds.

The school under the Education Guarantee Scheme is unique because the government started it to ensure that no child in the school-going age is left out.

In Ellamadai the government set up the school because the nearest school was about three km away.

Subsequently the State Government converted all the EGS schools into regular ones. A Government Order issued in July 2007 says that 164 such schools in the State shall be converted into regular schools and 46 new ones shall be started.

The G.O. also says about appointment of teachers to such schools. But for the Ellamadai school nothing much has happened.

Mr. Gunasekar says their pleas to the district administration and the government have yielded very little result.

Asked about the school’s fate, a senior Education Department official says they have sent a proposal for the school and a couple of others in the district and that by the beginning of the next academic year, the schools will be regularised.

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