Sandur’s govt schools lack infra to handle influx of students

Education Pandemic Rural Karnataka

Some have put pupils of 2 classes in one big room

Post-pandemic, Sandur has seen a rapid shift in students from private to government schools, which lack adequate infrastructure to handle the rush.

Jaatappa, the headmaster of the Government Higher Primary School, Bhujanganagara, informed The Observer: “We see very few dropouts every year. This school has more girls than boys. Sadly, we have no benches and classrooms to accommodate the growing number of students. I have written to the block education officer, but my request lies unresolved. Our staff find innovative ways to teach students.”

Prasanna Kumar, the headmaster of the Government Higher Primary School, said: “98% of the registered students attend their classes daily without fail. We have a strength of 85 students, but only four classrooms for first to seventh standards. Most infrastructure comes in the form of donations from the National Mining Development Corporation (NMDC), but it is never enough.” 

Sunita Sundar, a Hindi teacher in Sandur, shared: “Students are very intelligent and always eager to learn new things every day. We have a 90% pass rate throughout the taluk. To accommodate the students, we merged two small classrooms and made them into one huge classroom. Students in the first and second classes sit and learn together.”

Transport is a big issue for school children and their parents.

Shiva Kumar, a resident of Narayanapur, said: “I send my brother’s children to a nearby school every day. We can afford to send them to private schools, but finding transport is difficult. There are no choices in schools, and the fees are very high. We are aware of the conditions at the government school, but we are left with no choice.”

Pooja Krishna, founder and CEO of Global Education Expert, Bengaluru, said: “Schools in rural India lack access to necessities like reliable transportation and qualified teachers…. In India, many people still live in rural areas. The shift is reasonable, but is it sustainable? That’s the question we need to ask.”

Mailesh Bevoor, Block Education Officer, Sandur, said: “Sandur has a high literacy rate in this district. People highly value education. Mining companies in and around Sandur have set up great private schools. Workers of mining companies can access education from these private schools for free. The problem is not education but the mode of transport for parents. Pre-Covid, everyone had jobs, but then the situation changed. After the pandemic, transportation became a problem. So there was this huge shift. Over 50% of students studying in private schools had shifted to government schools.” 

The shift was so sudden that schools had no infrastructure to support such a large number of students. “This is a problem we still cannot find a solution to.”

According to a report in The Hindu, in the primary section, 31,943 (31%) teachers were working against the total sanctioned strength of 45,985, with 14,042 posts lying vacant. The department has appointed 8,514 guest teachers for primary schools.

Primary schools in Lingasugur taluk in Raichur district, Shorapur taluk in Yadgir district, and Sandur taluk in Ballari district, have up to 44% vacancies.

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