Schools of neglect: Failing students the BBMP way

Schools of neglect: Failing students the BBMP way

Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2017-02-16 10:51 Bengaluru: No schoolbags, ill-fitting uniforms, children walking bare feet - this is the scene in BBMP-run schools in the city.The civic body set aside as much as Rs4-cr in 2016 for shoes, uniforms, and other items, but schools have neither received shoes nor uniforms. And now the academic year is almost over.When Bfirst did a reality check of a few BBMP schools, this reporter found children wearing last year’s shoes and some were moving around in torn shoes; a few were walking bare foot. The situation wasn’t better when it came to uniforms. Children were wearing uniforms provided in 2015 and some even complained of not having bags to carry books.According to the BBMP Education Department, 16,814 children are studying in BBMP schools, junior and degree colleges. While schoolkids are given uniforms, bags, shoes and socks, degree and junior college students are provided with textbooks, notebooks and uniforms.The BBMP blamed the problem on tender process. "This year BBMP will not be able to give uniform as the tender process has been delayed,” said Shivanna, Education Officer of BBMP. “Although the BBMP has allocated Rs2-cr for uniforms, we were counting on funds from Sarva Shikshana Abhiyan (SSA). But due to miscommunication from BBMP, the SSA officials could not move any files. The tender for shoes is in final stage and two firms Lidker and Liberty have participated. In a week’s time, the process will be finalised."Subramani, a class X student of a BBMP-run school in Tusker Town, said he was still wearing torn shoes and was unsure of getting a new pair as the academic year was about to end.“My board exams are due to start in a few weeks and I cannot keep worrying about shoes. If the BBMP gives it before exam, then I can use it when I go to college," he said. Another student David complained about wrong sizes. "Last time, I did not get shoes as the school gave me the wrong size and took it back. And this time we will not get shoes as promised by our teachers," said David.Students at Ganganagar BBMP high school students told this reporter that they felt embarrassed to walk in torn shoes given last financial year.Activist Vasudev Sharma, Executive Trustee, Child Rights Trust, said the BBMP had a habit of announcing schemes and not implementing it. "The public also should question why these institutions are neglected. If the funds allotted to a scheme are not used, it is a crime,” she said.A BBMP school teacher, on condition of anonymity, said they felt “sad” for the children. “They do not have even have proper uniform to wear which is a basic necessity and their right too," said the teacher.The teacher said college uniforms had arrived but school uniforms hadn’t. “We asked the Special officer from the BBMP’s education department about the uniforms. He said that he had not received the file of intent (requirement details). I think it is a blame-game when they cannot fulfill a basic necessity," said the teacher. Clueless corporatorWhen contacted, Umme Salma, Education Committee Chairperson and Market Ward Corporator, merely handed the call to her husband, who in turn informed the “information was only with the personnel secretary”."Once we get information we can comment. We don't know anything," she said. BJP blames it on the mafiaUmesh Shetty, Opposition Party Leader in BBMP council, blamed the delay in issuing books and uniforms on the “mafia”."Only a few people are allowed to take part in tender process, there is a mafia controlling BBMP education department. The BBMP has a habit of giving shoes, books and other items after the academic session gets over, " he said.According to Padmanabha Reddy, former ruling party leader and Kacharakanahalli corporator, 10,000 students from nursery to high school study in BBMP’s educational institutions. He said various schemes were announced but they remained only on paper."Students have been cheated by the BBMP and government. In a month's time the academic year will end, and still the tenders are not called. This shows lack of commitment towards BBMP schools by both government and the BBMP," he said.