At least five government schools, one run by a charitable trust, are listed as functioning in ‘dilapidated’ buildings, yet authorities have done little to solve this dangerous issue.
Some have broken furniture dumped in the attic, some have gaping holes through the asbestos ceiling, some others have cracking walls and many have damp, broken floors. The Dickensian portrayal is not in a novel but in the sarkari schools of our City.
Reflecting the State government’s step-motherly attitude towards public schools, several school buildings are under a constant danger of caving in if the rains come in earnest. In Secunderabad Circle alone, five schools are listed as stationed in dilapidated buildings. These need urgent attention of the authorities lest some untoward incident take place.
While four are government schools, one has been run by a charitable trust for decades. The Upper primary school in Kummarguda (Pot Market) needs immediate repairs or reconstruction. This school, which runs as the Residential School Training Centre (RSTC), has 60 children. While most of the children belong to residential category, five are day scholars. Recently, the State project officer (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) and deputy inspector of schools had visited it and they had directed the staff to make sure the children are sleeping in the adjacent block, which is intact. However, the dilapidated structure is used during the day by both children and staff. “How could 60 children and five staff members fit in two small rooms?” asks the in-charge.
According to the staff, recently a huge chunk fell on a chair and had anyone been sitting on the chair, he could have lost a limb or his life. It has been more than a year since the staff has represented the issue to the collector of Hyderabad, but no action has been initiated. The building is over 60 years old.
Another government school of Regimental Bazaar, known for its record of cent per cent results, is now sharing space with an already existing school called Hill Street School. Out of 120 students, some 25 to 30 per cent less are attending classes due to the change in location, which is about half a kilometer away from the original school building. According to the head master, even though the building was listed as ‘dilapidated’ by the GHMC, the engineers of RMSA (Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan) found the structure to be intact.
Engineers who took up the issue have chosen a novel idea to link the beams of the old building with the newly raised structure from the open ground. This idea worked out but unfortunately, after completion of the basic structure, work is in limbo. “The building was supposed to be ready for this academic year but unfortunately we are continuing at the temporary location,” says the head master, who did not want to be named.
According to the head master, there are eight schools in Secunderabad Mandal alone which were under reconstruction and whose work is pending since several months. Similar to the situation at Regimental Bazaar, the kids here are continuing their studies at a temporary location.
One of the structures listed as dilapidated is one of the oldest schools in Allugadda Bavi, maintained by a trust. Started in 1955, the school continues to run in the age-old structure under asbestos sheets. For this school, notice was given in 2003, while for the other two mentioned above, notices were given in 2004. The Government Primary School in Subash Road received the notice from the GHMC on June 15, 2011.
The deputy inspector of schools, Secunderabad, Venugopala Chary, said that one of the schools in Subhash Road was dislocated completely. The government has sanctioned the reconstruction of the Kummarguda school, but until then, he was making sure that no one avails the dilapidated structure. About the Regimental Bazaar school, he said the delay was being caused due to the contractors.