Srinagar: The Girls Higher Secondary School in Bandipur has 1500 students on its rolls but only 13 classrooms to accommodate them in.
Established in 1989, and the only girls higher secondary school in the four educational zones of Quil, Sumbal, Hajin and Bandipora, the institution has 370 students in Class 12, 806 in Class 11, 168 in Class 10, and 172 in Class 9.
On an average, it crams 115 students into one classroom.
We hardly manage to fit into our classrooms, says a Class 12 student Saima Anees. We cannot concentrate on our studies.
We have to accommodate four students on a bench for three, which makes us uncomfortable and hampers our studies, she says.
We are unable to do our practicals in the laboratory as they neither have the space for such a large number of students nor the equipment for a high roll call, says another student, Ruqaya Farooq who studies science in Class 12.
Admitting that the school was suffering from a shortage of classrooms, the principal Rafiq Ahmad Parray said that the education department and the deputy commissioner of the district had already been informed about the problem.
Some local activists had even made a representation to chief minister Mehbooba Mufti at an awami durbar in Bandipur earlier this year, the principal says.
They had asked that the arts students of Class 11 and 12 be shifted to the building of the ITI which is only a few hundred meters away, he says.
According to locals, the chief minister had approved the request, but the superintendent at the ITI, and other authorities, had resisted.
Later, the deputy commissioner for Bandipora ordered us to shift Class 9 and 10 students to a middle school in Dachigam more than 1.5 kilometers away and having only four class rooms, he said.
But students, parents and locals were against the shifting, citing lack of facilities like laboratory, library, computer lab, vocational subjects training facility and other features like safety of students.
We have also written to the deputy commissioner and the chief education officer Bandipora that if a non-functional, unsafe building in the school is dismantled and a new two or three-storied building constructed in its place, our problem would get solved once for all, the principal said
A local educationist, Bashir Ahmad, said that if the government upgrades the girls high school at Kaloosa in the Quilmuqam zone and high school at Matrigam to higher secondary levels, the congestion in the Bandipur school would be reduced.
Students made an appeal to the education minister to visit their school once and see the problems they are facing for himself.
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