Parents are afraid to send their kids to school
Students of around 126 government primary schools in Gopalganj has been attending their classes in risky school buildings. In some cases, classes were taken in the school veranda, or in front of the building in school premises, to avoid a catastrophe.
Among the 126 risky school buildings in five upazilas, 50 are in Sadar upazila, 40 in Kotalipara, 16 in Kashiani, 10 in Muksudpur, and the others are in Tungipara, said District Primary Education Officer (DPEO) Anand Kishore Saha.
On a visit to three of the schools in Sadar, and Kotalipara upazila, this correspondent found the plaster of ceiling and walls were collapsed, numerous holes exposed the rods, and beams of the buildings. Teachers expressed deep concern regarding the safety of school children.
The Khatra Nichu-para Govt. Primary School of the Sadar upazila was declared risky by the Local Government Engineering Department in 2014, yet classes had been held in the building for the last five years, said it's headmaster Shanjib Kumar Boidda.
"Parents sometimes refuse to send their kids to the school because of its risky condition. I had to sit in several meetings with the locals to convince them to send their kids to our school. We had 81 students in our school last year, now the number has declined to 61," added the headmaster.
He further adds that he has been requesting renovation of the school to the upazila education office for some time, and hoped that actions will soon be taken regarding the matter.
"Our classrooms are falling apart, so most of the time the classes are being taken at the library. We are afraid that someday the ceiling will collapse on us," said a fifth grade student of the school, Suman Boidda.
Nupur Boidda, another second grade student of the school, said: "Our classes are being taken at the school balcony as the classrooms are in a bad shape."
Burua Govt. Primary School in Kotalipara upazila is also taking classes inside the dilapidated buildings for some time.
The schools' Headmaster Komolini Baroi said: "There are a total of 312 students in our school. We had been sending letters to the upazila education office for the last two years but to no avail. As there is no alternative, classes are being held in the risky buildings. Number of students are declining every year in our school."
S M Zakir Hossain, the headmaster of Ferdhora Govt. Primary School in the same upazila, said: "Two tin shed buildings in our school were built in 1990. The tin ceiling has some holes that leaks water when it rains. We need new buildings for our school."
Biddya Ratan Biswas, the upazila primary education officer, in Kotalipara, said: "Construction of new buildings for Bhuarpar, Chitrapara, Dakshinpara, Machpara, and Lebubari Govt. Primary School is under process. Construction of new buildings for the other schools will also begin this year.
DPEO Anand Kishore Saha said: "We sent a list of the risky school buildings to the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education. A total of 30 school buildings were marked in the list to be in very poor condition. All of those needs new buildings."
He added that most of the schools, among the 126, will be out of risk after necessary renovation.