Crumbling education infrastructure:700 schools operate from rented buildings in Kashmir

Srinagar, Jan 19: More than 700 government schools are functioning from rented buildings in Kashmir.

Official data accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveals that Budgam tops the list with 150 out of total 1260 schools functioning from rented buildings.

It is followed by Srinagar where 146 out of 518 schools are operating from rented buildings.

 Ganderbal district in central Kashmir has the lowest number of schools operating from rented buildings. Only 10 schools are functioning from rented  buildings in the district.

Similarly, there are 100, 30 and 22 schools which function from rented buildings in Anantnag, Kulgam, and Shopian districts respectively. Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara districts have 37, 53 and 81 schools which operate from rented buildings. 

An official of the Directorate School Education said the government was paying Rs three to four crore rent for these schools.

“Almost every school which functions from rented accommodation has at least two rooms,” he said.

Noted educationist Bashir Ahmad Dar said these schools lack basic amenities including toilets, drinking water, playground, libraries and laboratories.

 Moreover, he said, these schools lack safety measures like fire extinguishers to avert any eventuality.

“These buildings don’t even qualify for housing a school. Government should try to acquire its own land and avoid running a school from a rented accommodation. There are certain rules and regulations for starting a school which the department needs to follow,” he added.

Director School Education, Kashmir, Dr Younis Malik, said sanction has been accorded for  constructing new school buildings.

“In urban areas there is an issue of land accusation”, Dr Younis added.  

Besides, 52% government schools in Jammu and Kashmir lack separate toilet facilities for girls, forcing them to skip school or completely drop out, reveal a 2019 survey by Annual Status of Education Report.

Around 30% of schools have no separate toilet facility for girl students. “21.7% schools have toilet but they are either locked or are not usable,” the survey says.

However, only 48.2% of the total government schools in J&K have separate, unlocked and useable toilet facilities for girls.

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