Unsafe havens: Survey flags 19 BBMP schools as ‘dilapidated’

The survey was prompted by the collapse of a 50-year-old nursery school in Shivajinagar on November 27, just hours before 75 students arrived for classes.
Last Updated : 15 December 2023, 20:24 IST
Last Updated : 15 December 2023, 20:24 IST

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A recent survey by the BBMP’s Quality Assurance Cell has uncovered alarming conditions in 19 schools and colleges run by the corporation across the city.

The survey was prompted by the collapse of a 50-year-old nursery school in Shivajinagar on November 27, just hours before 75 students arrived for classes. This served as a wake-up call, revealing issues ranging from multiple cracks in the walls to leakages on rooftops during the rain and a complete lack of maintenance.

Disturbingly, some schools even lack water supply for maintaining basic hygiene in toilets.

It identifies the 19 institutions as "unstable," rendering them unsafe for continued use.

The report, prepared in consultation with school headmasters, recommends the demolition of these dilapidated structures “as early as possible”.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is providing nursery, high school, pre-university, and degree education across 163 facilities, some of which are rented.

A majority of the facilities are located in the Central Business District (CBD), revealing that the BBMP did not make efforts to provide affordable education in the peripheral areas added to the corporation in 2008.

Report findings

Besides the 19 institutions functioning in dilapidated structures, the report draws attention to 67 schools in need of repairs and maintenance, with some facing overcrowding issues due to insufficient classroom capacities. The heads of these institutions are requesting additional buildings to accommodate more students.

For instance, the BBMP has been running a nursery school in an incomplete building in Doddakannelli, which was built 10 years ago as Ambedkar Bhavan. The school lacks basic amenities, such as windows, water supply, and electricity connections.

In Ulsoor, a nursery school has been running in a temporary shelter. The problem of unkempt toilets due to a lack of water supply appears widespread, impacting schools in Murphy Town, Walkers Colony in Ulsoor, Benson Town, Corporation Boys' and Girls' High School, Cox Town, among others.

On the brighter side, 73 school teachers reported satisfaction with the facilities.

Speaking to DH, BBMP Chief Commissioner Tushar Girinath said not all the 19 buildings will be razed immediately as they are also being used as polling booths.

Rubble from the BBMP school which collapsed in November.

Rubble from the BBMP school which collapsed in November.

Credit: DH File Photo 

“There is no imminent threat of these buildings collapsing. The teachers and engineers may have been alerted as a precautionary measure. We will undertake one more survey to assess the stability of these buildings before razing them. Until then, students at these schools will be shifted out,” Girinath said.

‘Reflects poorly on MLA’

Anil Shetty, who ran the Save Government Schools movement in Karnataka, said the dilapidated conditions of schools reflects poorly on the local MLA.

“Elected representatives have enormous powers to (improve) the condition of the schools. Besides public money, he can approach the corporates who will happily adopt (these schools) or (he could) part with his income, which easily runs into several crores,” Shetty said.

“No (corporate) company will come forward on its own (to adopt the schools) unless the BBMP or the local MLA takes the first step. If a legislator cannot set right the schools (or) primary healthcare centres in his or her constituency, what good can he do for the state?” he wondered.

Published 15 December 2023, 20:24 IST

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