In Anantnag, Education Takes Refuge In A Cowshed

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ANANTNAG:  Students in a primary school in the south Kashmir district of Annatnag have some unusual mates— cows that peer into a nearby room where where some unfortunate students are seeking education.  

For all practical purposes, a primary school in Brakpora Anantnag, has been turned into a cowshed exploding the over-inflated balloon of the so-called ‘improvements and achievements’ in Education with a loud thud.

Twenty years have passed since its establishment, but three rooms are all what the school has in the name of infrastructure. Government primary school at Aadkalni Brakpora, where at least 90 students are studying not more than two Kilometres from Anantnag town, is among hundreds of government-run schools which are glaring examples of State’s poor education system. The primary school has only three rooms in which one room is used as a cowshed and the other two rooms, for teaching. Forget library, a computer lab, internet facility or any other present-day requirement, the students are forced to squat on bare floor. 

One thing has surely changed: the school has been shifted from a rented building to a cowshed, which is next to the road and lacks everything. 

“We were earlier operating from three rooms, “said a teacher. “The school has only three rooms for five classes.”

To hide the shanty structure from public gaze, the school is separated by a thin mud-coloured. “The students used to shout at the passers-by so we contributed some amount from our pocket money to purchase some curtains to use screens,” the teacher said.

The school is a glaring example of the State’s poor education system. “The children of the poor like us are left at God’s mercy,” said a resident Abdul Rasheed.” For them a computer is a distant dream.”

How they can compete with the students of other schools, “he wondered. The Headmaster of the school while talking to Kashmir observer said that they have been raising the issue before the higher authorities, but to no avail.  “In almost every meeting that is conducted in the ZEO office, we raise the issue but nothing to this effect has been done so far,” he said. 

“The authorities did not bother to acquire the land for the school and as such, it has been converted into a cowshed,” he added. 

A second grade student who otherwise should have been tackling a mathematical query or a science quiz looked desperate. “Government is playing with the future of poor students like me,” he muttered. “I have about computers but here we don’t have a classroom to study in.”

“We have no toilet, no play ground, no water facility and we suffer a lot in the school,” he said.

With warm days ahead and in absence of a play ground, water facility and a toilet system in place, the students are up for more discomfort. “We have to tuck students of two classes into a single room, said a lady teacher. “How could we teach in such environment? The dung stench emanating from the other room is simply nauseating, both for the students.

Attempts to reach either the CEO Anantnag or Director School Education did not materialise. 

The cow may have a question or two to ask but neither the cow nor the pleas of the teachers reach the higher authorities who knocked at their doors on umpteenth occasions. 

For the time being, the cow and the students remain schoolmates, perhaps inseparably.

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