A once-vibrant school is dying, and none seems to care

A once-vibrant school is dying, and none seems to care

Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-05-10 14:27 Bengaluru: Schools are supposed to be temples of learning, but one look at the Government Tamil Primary School on Thimmaiah Road, hardly 3kms away from Vidhan Soudha, is enough to turn you into a cynic.Classrooms without ceiling, broken window panes, piles of garbage dumped at the entrance, plastic bags, cigarette butts, empty liquor bottles, broken compound walls stand testimony to official apathy and human debasement.Kala, who is in charge teacher of the school and in-charge head mistress since 2002, says that she had pleaded with officials and public representatives to at least build a good compound wall to secure the place from anti-social elements. But her pleas had no effect on officials, who seem to be tone-deaf.“I approached area Corporator Farida Isthiyaq, MLA Roshan Baig and education department, but nothing has changed. When everything failed, a letter was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year,” says Kala.Heaps of garbage greet students and teachers at the school entrance, thanks to the BBMP which had failed to clear the place of garbage. The building collapsed few years ago when it rained heavily and a tree fell on it.MLA’s empty promiseMLA Roshan Baig had visited the school and promised to provide funds for renovation. That was a year ago. Since then, the school’s fortunes haven’t improved an inch. Worst is the area corporator Farida’s husband, who according to Kala, has opened a party office adjacent to school but is not in the least bothered about the issues in the ward.“We are only three teachers, but we teach all the subjects to 6 to 7 students. Earlier there were 480 students and the school had classes till Standard 10. But now, we offer classes only for primary students from Std 1 to 5,” says Kala.Kala says that students came from faraway places to attend the school. The education department shifted the high school to nearby Pottery Town. And whatever is left now is in decay. Large class rooms have been abandoned and anti-social elements use the school at night for their illegal activities.Miscreants have also stolen school property such as wooden benches, large vessels, and other items and sold it in scrap market. The wooden planks that support the roof were taken away to a bakery to be used as firewood.“Miscreants who are into drugs need money and they have been looting the school. The matter has been brought to the notice of all the concerned persons including police, but they don’t have guts arrest and save the school,” says Velangani, caretaker of the school. According to her, parents refuse to send their children to school due to such factors.Staff say that Rs15,000 is given to school at the end of the year for the maintenance.Cyril, a parent who stays near the school, says that his 22-year-old son studied in the school and passed matriculation six years ago.“This school was like a gem,” says Cyril. “But due to the official and public representatives’ apathy it has now been reduced to a place for illegal activities. As there is no place to dump the garbage, commercial complexes, especially hotels, throw huge piles of garbage in front of the school.”Block Education Officer (BEO) goes on the defensiveWhen contacted, V Ramesh, BEO North 3, went on the defensive saying that teachers had been asked to go from house to house to find students.“The school area had been a gift from Mysuru rulers. It measures over 1 acre and had been built during pre-Independence era. The school is very old and the area MLA also said that he would seek government’s intervention,” replied the BEO.Asked about teachers’ plea for renovation, permanent security arrangements, he said, “The MLA should care of these things as we have done everything from our side, from providing free uniform, to food and books.”MLA’s versionRoshan Baig, who is also a minister in Siddaramaiah’s cabinet, said he was ready to raise funds to help the school.“Funds given by education department to develop the school are not sufficient. Therefore, I am in touch with philanthropists to develop this school with modern amenities, but I cannot assure any deadline,” said Baig.