Jagatsinghpur, July 10 (LocalWire): Children of government primary school at Paida village under Erasama block have been forced to study on the verandah of the local panchyat office for the last 20 years due to want of building and land.
Although the Paida Upper Primary school was established in 1936, no building has come up yet.
It was functioning in a dilapidated asbestos room in the private land of Natabar Sahoo, a villager from Paida village.
During last super cyclone 1999, the building was totally damaged and the government sanctioned funds under the Operation Black Board scheme for the construction of a school building but land owner Sahoo protested the construction in his private land.
Later, the revenue department donated pasture land to construct the school building but other villagers protested due to shortage of grazing land for cattle and burial ground.
Since the protest, the school has been functioning on the verendha of Paida panchayat office.
The headmaster of the school Gangadhar Panigrahi said, ‘There are only 75 students from class I to class VII.
The school has no toilet for girls and no kitchen so it is very difficult to prepare mid-day meals during the rainy season.
Despite the decision of the government to start class VIII we have not been able to start the class.’
Villagers of Paida, Kailash Pradhan, Gaurang Charan Parida and others alleged, ‘despite stiff resistance, administration acquired 2700 acres of land for Posco steel project in this block but no steps have yet taken to acquire 20 to 25 decimal land for the school proving gross negligence and callous attitude on the part of officials.’
‘Parents are not ready to send their wards to the school and majority of the students who had enrolled have dropped out,’ they added.
Sarpanch of Paida panchyat, Pradipta Kishore Parida, confessed ‘there are three rooms and one room is given to the school.
As a result, three classes are being held in one room while other students are sitting on the verandah.
Similarly, official work of the panchayat has been hampered due to shortage of space.
Education has been hit due to lack of land and building.
We have sought the intervention of the government to provide land for the school,’he added.
On the other hand, Dhabelswer Nodal High school of Hansura panchayat with 129 students has only 3 teachers.
Shortage of teachers, lack of infrastructure, misappropriation of rice under mid-day meal, non-availability of teaching learning materials due to funds crunch are the main cause for the rise in the dropout rate in this district.
Block Education Officer, Erasama, Jayant Kumar Ray, confessed ‘Education of children and official work of the panchyat, both have been hampered. Steps have been taken for alternative arrangements for this school’.