SILCHAR: At a time when smart classrooms in academic institutions are gradually becoming common in different parts of the country and the governments are looking at new and innovative curriculums, students of a government school in southern Assam can only dream of quality education.
Established in 1979, the Simtangjoy Middle English School in Nilkantapur under Patharkandi assembly constituency in Karimganj district, about 117-km from Silchar, has 139 students on its rolls. Over the last two-and-a-half years, however, a lone teacher has been tasked with taking classes and doing all the administrative work in this school.
Studies are being hampered, rued students of the school while talking to EastMojo, on the conditions of anonymity. “All the classes are supposed to be taken by just one teacher, who is the only one running the school for 2.5 years now. We are deprived of education as most of the classes are not taken.”
According to the students’ parents, school headmistress Indrabati Tripura was actually the one running the school single-handedly until she went on sick leave in April, leaving a temporary teacher to run the show on her behalf.
When contacted, headmistress Tripura told EastMojo that she is unwell at present and on leave.
“I joined as the headmistress in November 2019 and have been running this school since. No other teacher or principal was appointed in the school since then,” she said.
All stakeholders say the matter of “shortage” of teachers in the school has been brought to the attention of concerned authorities time and again, but to no avail. Headmistress Tripura said she has urged the authorities “multiple times” for the appointment of more teachers in the school, but all she got were “assurances”.
Temporary teacher Bidyut Barman, who is filling in for Tripura, told EastMojo that he is running the school single-handedly and as such, it is not possible for him to take all the classes.
“Altogether, 18 classes — with students of Classes VI, VII and VIII and six subjects for each class — are supposed to be taken every day. It is not possible for me to take all the classes. I have to do the office work too as there is no office staff in the school,” Barman lamented.
Interestingly, admission process is currently on in the school which cannot even handle the 139 students it already has.
“Admissions are on and the number of students is set to increase in the coming days. I urge the education department to look into the matter and resolve the issue of shortage of teachers in the school for the welfare of the young students,” Barman said.
When contacted, Patharkandi BJP MLA Krishnendu Paul told EastMojo that the headmistress of the school is sick and another teacher is running the school in her absence. “One more teacher will be appointed very soon,” he said.
R. Malakar, president of Swami Vivekananda Jubosangha Club, a local organisation, said the school is one of the oldest academic institutions in the constituency, but there has been no development in its infrastructure over the years.
“Only one teacher has been running the school for years, so, you can understand the quality of education being imparted to the students,” he rued.
According to Malakar, there is no other middle English school within a long distance from Simtangjoy Middle English School, because of which parents, especially those from the financially weaker section, have to send their children to the school, but it is in such a condition that students are not getting the education they deserve.
All stakeholders, including students and their parents, have appealed to the authorities concerned and the local MLA for necessary steps to save the children’s future.
“The future of our children is doomed if the government does not take the issue seriously. Immediate necessary steps should be taken to fix the educational scenario of the school,” a parent told EastMojo.
Meanwhile, local MLA Paul told EastMojo that he would personally visit the school “on Sunday” and learn about all the issues being faced by the students.
“Necessary steps will be taken accordingly for the school’s infrastructure development,” he added.
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