Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lack of basic facilities force students to leave kallar schools

The teaching community is concerned over the dwindling number of studentsin the kallar reclamation schools in all the three districts. At present, there are only 36,000 students in the total 284 kallar reclamation schools, compared to 44,000 students during the 2011-2012 academic year. The alarming decrease is due to inadequate teaching staff and poor maintenance of the hostels in the schools, says P Theenan, district secretary, primary school teachers' federation, ( kallar schools). 

Parents are concerned over the absence of headmasters and inadequate teachers in the kallar reclamation schools. The schools have become a secondary choice due to the mushrooming private schools. Unless the authorities act fast and fill up the existing vacancies and take measures to better maintenance of the hostels, the number would drastically reduce, Theenan warned. 

Talking about the vacancies, he said, "24 posts for high school and primary headmasters are vacant for the last four years. Although Right to Education Act stresses that no school can function with a single teacher, as many as 37 primary schools are functioning with just one teacher," he said. 

As many as 48 postgraduate, 34 UG and 100 secondary grade teacher positions are vacant for many years and they are yet to be filled. The students receive poor encouragement from the schools in sports. It is quite evident from the number of permanent physical education teachers available as only eight teachers are available for the entire 36,000 students, said another member from the association. 

Poor hostel maintenance also leads to the dwindling of students say members of the Kallar Reclamation School Hostel Wardens Association. The dire state of the hostels drive away the students back home. The students do not even get the basic sanitation facilities in the hostels. The situation is the same in all the 52 hostels, they say. 

The 94-odd students staying in the boys' hostel of the Government Kallar School in Checkanurani are also deprived of basic facilities such as toilet and drinking water. The toilet is locked due to unavailability of water and the consequence - the students are forced to go for open defecation. It is a nightmarish experience for them to go out at night in the open space in fear of the anti-social elements, the students said. 

Most of the time they eat even without a guzzle of water as there is no drinking water facility available. They have to walk at least 100m to reach the school to quench their thirst. 

When contacted, S Chellam, joint director, kallar reclamation said "We have taken measures to fill the vacant posts. We have filled 20 teaching and non-teaching posts recently." She also said that priority would be given to the hostels and maintenance works of the hospital would be started shortly, she said.

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