Published: 04th September 2019
In this 30-year-old Odisha Sanskrit school with no toilets, 20+ students sleep in a classroom
Right from missing boundary walls, decrepit classrooms and other physical infrastructure to poor sanitation and lack of safe drinking water, the school faces it all
The Duradei Sanskrit School was established at Parusottampur village under Khaira block 31 years ago with the objective to preserve and promote the ancient language of the country. Only to be left orphaned immediately after.
Wallowing in neglect for the last three decades, the institution is now struggling to keep itself alive. Crumbling infrastructure has threatened its very existence. Right from missing boundary walls, decrepit classrooms and other physical infrastructure to poor sanitation and lack of safe drinking water, the school faces it all.
The boys’ school has 119 students from Class VI to X, most of them belonging to tribal communities of Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts. Of the total three classrooms in the asbestos-roofed thatched house, one has been converted into a kitchen. Without a hostel, the classrooms double up as dormitories. Around 50 students sleep in two classrooms in the night.
While the school has total of six teaching and non-teaching staff, the district administration is yet to appoint a cook for the inmates. Headmaster Harischandra Sankhua has engaged a local for the purpose and the expenditure is being incurred from school fund.
The school also lacks proper sanitation facilities as students attend nature’s call in a polythene-covered open toilet on the school premises. They are forced to use unsafe water from a tube-well despite its foul taste and smell.
Locals alleged that despite several requests, the administration even failed to construct an all-weather road to the school. During the rainy season, teachers and students face immense problems to come to the school. Though the school had received Government recognition in 1992, no substantial funding has been made for infrastructure development. An amount of `one lakh was sanctioned by the 14th Finance Commission through the panchayat for construction of a boundary wall, but work is yet to be started, they said. A Class X student alleged that while the asbestos of the house has been damaged since long, it is yet to be repaired. Polythene sheets have been used to cover the damaged asbestos. The quality of food is also not good, he said.
The headmaster said the fund has been sanctioned for construction of school building and work will begin after monsoon. Block Education Officer Dharanidhara Patra assured to look into the matter.