With the aim to provide education to poor children, the system of free education was introduced. For which, many schools were developed across India. Even parents and students hope for a better future from the schools. However, in the Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, negligence of the government is causing non-fulfilment of the very purpose of the government schools. In result, dreams of parents and students are shattering.
About 2336 government schools are available including primary and junior in Sultanpur district. According to an Uttar Pradesh government website, there are 1727 villages in the district. The ratio of the number of schools and villages look nearly enough for educating poor children. However, it is impossible to hope for a better future of poor children just by providing many schools but neglecting the quality.
Infrastructure and facilities
Many schools in the Sultanpur district have fewer classrooms. Electricity is not regular. Lights and fans are not available in many classrooms. Ceilings and walls of the classrooms are dilapidated. Washrooms are not maintained properly.
Mohammed Sohail who is a headmaster of a school in one of the villages called Kudwar told that he has been complaining about irregular electricity in the school but his efforts go in vain. “Students don’t have much problem in the winter season. But in other seasons teachers and students get fed up of heat,” told Sohail.
Students are also not provided with benches to sit, hence, they either sit on mats or bare floors even in winter season too. Sohail further told that he has been requesting the authority to provide benches for students but his request has been falling on deaf ears.
Another school in the same village which is entitled from first to eight standards has classrooms with dilapidated ceilings. In monsoon, water seeps into the classrooms. In result, students have to sit outside the classrooms.
Moreover, the toilets are not cleaned and the seats are broken. That is the reason students prefer to pee in the open instead of using toilets. However, teachers have something else to say.
“We can’t force them to use toilets. We advise them regularly but they don’t listen to us. They have a habit of peeing and defecating in open as they are from a poor family,” told Neha Singh, a teacher from the school.
Sohail was 100% sure that such problems are in every school in the Sultanpur district.
It is not just infrastructure that is the matter of concern in government schools in Sultanpur. The quality of education also seems to be ruining the life of students. While talking to headmaster Sohail a student of standard fifth came to him to check his homework. He asked the student to read what he had written. He was unable to read properly. When Sohail asked the meaning of the word ‘girl’, the student failed to answer.
When asked why the student is so weak in the study, Sohail replied that he is one of the weakest students in the class. However, the reality is different from what he was trying to prove.
I went to standard seven of another school in the village and asked a few students to read one paragraph of a chapter from the English textbook. Only two out of 17 students could read properly. One of them could only translate the paragraph in Hindi but after much assistance from the teacher.
To cover up ill-efforts, teachers blamed the students and parents. “Students don’t come regularly to schools. Their parents are illiterate and they don’t know the value of education. They don’t care about whether their children are coming to school or doing homework,” said Neha.
Parents, on the other hand, send their children to school so that they can do something better in life through education. Kadeer Khan, 35, who is a painter and earns less than Rs. 10,000 monthly says “I don’t want my children to suffer what I am suffering. I am not educated but I am trying my best to make sure that my children are receiving an education so that they can do something better with life.”
Not only parents but students also have dreams in life that can only be possible with a better education. A fifth standard student Shehnaz has a dream of becoming a lawyer and wants to work for children’s rights. However, the government and teacher’s negligence shows that the dreams of children and parents are shattering.
A teacher and social worker Nizam Khan confirmed that this is the condition of all the government schools of Sultanpur. Even he and his team under the banner of Uttar Pradesh Prathmik Shikshak Sangh (UPPSS) have been protesting against the condition of the schools but their request is falling on deaf ears.
“The government of Uttar Pradesh is doing nothing but playing with the life of poor children,” said Nizam who is a spokesperson of UPPSS. He further added that this is the condition of government schools even though four MLAs out of five in Sultanpur district are from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is a party in power.
BJP MLA Deomani Dwivedi blamed the previous government for the severe condition of education and infrastructure of government schools in Sultanpur. “It took 70 years to destroy the education system. Now it will take some time for us to repair it,” said MLA Dwivedi.
On the other hand, another MLA Abrar Ahmed from Samajwadi Party (SP) said that he discusses the issues in assembly meetings but nobody cares.