Hitesh Chavda, Ahmedabad: At a time when the state government is patting its backs on "success" of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All Campaign) and Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao (Educate Girl Child, Save Girl Child) campaigns, images of students studying inside shanties and dilapidated buildings for schools in Valsad district of South Gujarat paints a picture of stark contrast. Burvad, a village in Kaparada taluka of Valad district has a population about 3000 people has no classrooms in the government school, forcing its 411 students to attend classes inside makeshift shanties or dilapidated rooms with no roofs.

The school has classes from standard 1 to 8, but with only three classrooms available to use the students of class 2nd, 3rd and 4th standard are forced sit out and study in the open or inside makeshift rooms. The rents for the land where these makeshift classrooms are made are being paid by the teachers themselves. Nobody has ever visited to take note of the educational needs and facilities required to be provided to the more than 140 villages in the Kaparada taluka. The students have been making do with such facilities since 2006 and so far no government department, zilla panchayat or education committee has taken note of it or ignored it.

The students of standard 5 study in a private building and the rent i.e. Rs6000 is paid by the teachers themselves while 49 students of standard 3 study on the ground outside the church which is located near the school. 41 students of standard 2 have their classes being conducted in a makeshift room made of metal sheets, sans a roof. The school is also bereft of toilet facilities.

The students are compelled to study in harsh conditions in summer and winter but during the monsoon season, the rain water makes the ground muddy and the roofless room makes it impossible to study. Bistubhai, a teacher in the school said, “We have sent several applications regarding the need of atleast 14 more rooms for the school but it all went into deaf ears. Zilla collector of Valsad had also paid a visit during Praveshottsav but we were consoled with mere ‘will be done’ statements. No authorities have ever come here to see the condition the students study in.

MeraNews contacted the development officer of Valsad who after further investigation said, “After investigating about this school, I have acknowledged that 11 rooms were allowed and which has also been covered in the latest budget. But since, the school stands in a privately owned land, controversies rose and the Gram Panchayat has resolved to build another school in a different place, the construction of which will start after we receive the approval letter.  Meanwhile, the students continue with their plight even as the government hosts grand celebrations at Gandhinagar and talk highly about their successful educational initiatives.

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