No Room for School

The children of a Government School in Jammu and Kashmir have only one room to study in. Ever since it was set up in 2003, the school of Mir Mohala Rahayee in Badgam District of Jammu and Kashmir has been in a rundown state. Although the Central Government has officially called it a Primary School, in reality it is only a 6 x 10 feet rented room in which 30 children sit crammed together. Community Correspondent Sajad Rasool tells us that this is the only school of the Mir Mohala village, which comprises 150 households. “The people living here work as farmers and their financial condition is terrible.” says Sajad. “For this reason, they cannot afford to put their children in private schools and have to make do with the one provided by the government.” Mir Mohala Rahayee was first set up by the Government as part of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan as a centre for children who did not have proper schooling. In 2008, its status was changed to that of a Primary School, but its’ meagre infrastructure remained the same. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a Central Government Scheme that aims to universalise elementary education throughout India within a time bound framework. To enable this, the programme includes the development and strengthening of infrastructural, economic and other facilities for primary schools, especially for those situated in rural areas. One of the main points under the scheme states that it is mandatory to have a minimum of two teachers in one primary school. However, the Mir Mohala Rahayee School has only had one teacher teaching its students since 2003. “The elders of the village have been holding regular meetings to discuss the state of the school. They are worried about their children’s future.” says Sajad. During the monsoon and winter months, parents refuse to send their children to school as the room does not have adequate heating facilities. Also, the Mid Day Meal scheme is not carried out properly during these seasons. This means that the children who attend school at this time have to go hungry throughout the day. Sajad believes that corruption is the cause of all these problems. “The government has allocated adequate funds for the development of the Mir Mohala School, but because of some officials trying to grease their fingers, we are not granted access to the money.” According to him, education forms the foundation for all societies, and only when the younger generation is able to get proper schooling can a community even dream of developing further. “It is a sad but true fact that a few corrupt individuals can stand in the way of a child’s future.” -Rajyashri Goody

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