In govt schools, students are servants

With no ayahs, they are forced to clean classrooms, wash utensils

In govt schools, students are servants

Heavy rain that lashed the City on Monday has exposed the poor infrastructure in government schools.

Most of the school buildings are dilapidated and call for immediate repair works. With classrooms leaking, students of different classes are huddled into a single room. And the absence of ayahs has worsened the situation as children are being forced to clean the school premises.

At some schools in Austin Town, Victoria Layout, Vivek Nagar and surrounding areas, the condition of the buildings is pathetic. At the Government Model School on Tannery Road, children of one of the classes sit on the cold floor as their classroom is leaking. The benches are wet and have become useless.

The situation is worse in other schools. At the Government Higher Primary School in Victoria Layout, students study under the constant threat of the building collapsing.
Though a part of the school has new rooms where children are made to sit, the rest of the building has mud chipping off the walls. “Two months ago, chunks of mud from the roof started falling down. Thankfully, no student was standing under it at that time,” said a teacher.

The school has written to the education department asking it to renovate the building. While there is a new toilet for girls, the boys still use a derelict, unlit structure without doors, which is being passed off as toilet. In the Government Tamil Medium School in Austin Town, despite three repair works taken up earlier, every time it rains, the rooms start leaking.

Absence of ayahs

With no ayahs in schools, students are forced to clean the premises. There is more work in the rainy season for them. When this reporter visited a government school in Vivek Nagar, children were found cleaning the school dustbins in the rain. When questioned, the teachers said there are no ayahs and hence children have to do the work.

The school has Tamil, Telugu and Kannada sections and there is not a single ayah. Students sweep the classrooms themselves and wash vessels after the mid-day meal. This is not an isolated case. Similar is the situation in the Government Higher Primary School in Victoria Layout.

A school better off in comparison is the Government Model School on Tannery Road where the teachers have taken the initiative to clean the premises. Teachers here said they mop the room themselves whenever it rains. They have pooled in money from their salaries to hire a help for cleaning the premises as the government has not appointed ayahs.

Education Department officials said though the absence of ayahs in schools is something that needs to be set right by the government, schools forcing children to clean up the premises has to be condemned. Apart from grants under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, schools also get Rs 3,000 for lower primary and Rs 5,000 for higher primary level once in three months for cleaning purposes.

Prabhakar, Commissioner for the Department of Public Instruction, told Deccan Herald that he would initiate counselling for schoolteachers so that they do not make students run errands or do cleaning work. “Thousands of Group ‘D’ posts are vacant. We have asked the government to fill these posts soon. Unless this is done, there will be no ayahs in schools,” he said.

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