Apathy: Incomplete school buildings leave 350 schools in a fix
Srinagar: In a startling revelation, at least 350 Government Middle Schools are awaiting upgradation from past three years owing to the incomplete school buildings.
An official said the schools were supposed to be upgraded under centrally sponsored scheme Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), but the proposal has remained lingering for the past several years as the government failed to set up a mechanism to ensure completion of school buildings.
The RMSA scheme was launched in March 2009 with the objective to enhance access to secondary education and to improve its quality.
Under the scheme, the Middle Schools are upgraded to the High Schools level by providing additional class rooms, laboratories, libraries, art and crafts room, toilet blocks and drinking water facilities.
The authorities in school education department in the state had identified scores of schools for up-gradation under RMSA scheme and accordingly the sanction was accorded for the same.
“Nearly 400 middle schools are still awaiting up-gradation to the level of high schools despite lapse of several years because of the inability of officials to resolve the concerned issues,” the official said, due to this, large number of students of these middle schools have been deprived of the benefits of the RMSA scheme.
According to the official, several schools whose up-gradation was sanctioned in 2009-10 and 2010-11 are still in limbo as the construction of the new buildings has been left midway.
“The construction of some buildings has been left at roof level, plinth level or finishing level. Similarly, the up-gradation of large number of schools approved in 2011-12 is also lingering,” the official said, adding that many of schools sanctioned during 2011-12 financial year are facing land issue despite lapse of several years.
“The tendering process for almost all the schools sanctioned for up-gradation during 2014-15 financial year is yet to be completed and when the additional infrastructure for such schools would become available is a mystery no top official can provide an answer to,” the official said.
The official further said reasons behind the inordinate delay in up-gradation of schools was that the majority of these schools were identified in a haphazard manner as a result of which expansion became impossible for want of sufficient space.
He said that no focus was laid on whether there is sufficient land available in the premises of the schools or in the adjoining areas to facilitate their expansion.
“Because of these issues the construction activities got delayed and subsequently the cost of the construction increased considerably,” the official said.
Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) G N Itoo when contacted said the he has no handy information about the issue but will take up the matter with concerned officials.
“I will talk to the concerned officials in RMSA (now SMAGRA) and confirm about the status of these schools,” he said.