Majority Srinagar schools run from rented accommodations

Waseem Ahmad
SRINAGAR, July 21: Notwithstanding the tall claims of the Government in streamlining the education sector in the State, more than half of the schools in Srinagar are without their own buildings and are functioning from the rented buildings, that san all basic facilities, causing inconvenience to the students.
As per the figures of the Chief Education Office (CEO), 345 schools in the education zones of Srinagar are running from rented buildings.
Out of 519 schools in Srinagar (30 Higher Secondary Schools, 74 High Schools, 211 Middle Schools and 204 Primary Schools), 345 schools (50 Higher Secondary Schools, 119 Middle Schools and 176 Primary Schools) are functional from the rented buildings.
As per Government teachers, one of the main problems of Government schools for not performing well is the non-availability of proper infrastructure. “Why would a parent admit his child in a school that has no space available? There are highly qualified teachers in Government schools but due to the bad condition of the schools, people prefer Private schools,” Mohammad Haneef, a Government teacher said.
He said due to lack of space the students from different classes are huddled around the teachers resulting in chaos, confusion and noise. “Teachers have to wait for their turn to teach the rest of the classes and then people accuse Government teachers for not giving attention to the students,” he added.
Deputy CEO Srinagar, Mudasir Kaleem Fazili, blamed the lack of space in the city for not having their own buildings. “The non-availability of land has become a major issue for the department to provide facilities in the schools. These rented schools are functioning in congested areas in rented buildings due to non availability of land. There are some schools in the city running from just two or even a single room, leading to cramping of space and difficulties in conducted classes. The worst part is we can’t even upgrade these rented buildings,” he said.
Mudasir said there is shortage of land in the city which is one of the reasons schools are operating from rented buildings. “It is the priority of the Government to provide education but what can we do when there is no space available for the infrastructure,” he said, adding: “Education Department has initiated various steps to bring reforms in the education sector but non availability of land has become a major hurdle.”
Nusrat Jahan, Zonal Education Officer (ZEO), zone Batamaloo said the clubbing of schools is another problem that has created congestion in the schools. “Due to less roll of students, various schools were clubbed together and as a result this created congestion in the schools. But what can we do, we are not able to identify any land in Srinagar where we can construct an ideal building for the school. There is plenty of land available on the city outskirts but we cannot shift a school from a particular area to another area,” she said.