No classrooms, schoolchildren's future uncertain

No classrooms, schoolchildren's future uncertain

Buildings destroyed in floods; furniture, books and records washed away

In the unprecedented floods, no less than 400 classrooms do not exist and about 3,000 others stand partially destroyed.

Consequently, schoolchildren will have no classrooms to return to, leaving their future uncertain for an indefinite period of time. On the other hand, a clear picture will take weeks to emerge for the government to get an extent of the damage and the measures that would be needed to be taken to construct new school buildings and undertake repair job on the partially destroyed schools.

In Raichur district, government primary school buildings in Talamri, Burdipadu and Chikkmanchali villages of Raichur taluk took the brunt of the gushing waters. Water stood at a height of 10 metres in the classrooms of the primary school in Chintamandoddi in Sindhanur taluk. School furniture, books and students’ records have been washed away.
With some variation, the situation is no different in other schools of flood-hit districts. In Raichur alone, 64 classrooms have been severely affected. District Public Instruction Deputy Director Amruth Bettad said, “They have to be demolished and reconstructed. As many as 1,128 classrooms have been damaged partially". Bettad’s estimate is that at least Rs 12.5 crore would be required to rebuild the damaged school buildings in the district.

In Gulbarga district, four classrooms collapsed when pounded by the swirling water and 132 rooms needed to be repaired. District Public Instruction Deputy Director A T Chamaraj estimated that an amount of Rs 197 lakh was required for construction and repair work in the schools.

In Bellary district, 33 classrooms have been partially damaged, while three others were badly affected. Bellary DDPI Dr H Balaraj has submitted a proposal for construction and repair of school buildings at a  cost of Rs 32.90 lakh.
In Koppal, where 38 school buildings have been damaged, the DDPI (incharge) B K S Vardhan understands that no less than Rs 44 lakh would have to spent for repair work. Vardhan, however, believes that accommodating children would not be a problem since there would be extra classrooms, constructed under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyana, in schools left untouched by the flood.

What will compound the government’s reconstruction efforts is North Karnataka’s poor record of performance in SSLC exams. In last year’s examination, Raichur took 24th position. Gulbarga and Koppal stood at 28th and 23rd position, respectively. With school buildings washed away and the educational future of students uncertain, the government will no doubt be worried over how the schools of North Karnataka will perform in next year’s SSLC.

Raichur DDPI Bettad felt that schools in his district would have performed well if the system had not been disrupted by the floods. “However, we will take the situation as a challenge and work hard to achieve good results,” he said.

Tenders called for
Public Instruction Commissioner Harish Gowda said the government had sufficient text books to supply the schools. "Last year we printed enough text books. As soon as we receive requisition from the districts we will send out the supplies. We are inviting tenders for printing the books keeping the future requirement in view", he said.
Education minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri said the department would take necessary measures for making alternative arrangements for students of those schools, whose buildings have been damaged completely. The government would send text books to those who lost them in floods. Asked whether damage caused by floods would affect the SSLC results, he said the department would take steps to address the issue effectively.