Cowshed turns classrooms for tribal kids

Once a cowshed, now a school! Shocking it may seem, but is an uncomfortable truth.
 Exposing the dismal state of Odisha’s education system, the New Primary School in Talapanka of Jagannathprasad block is functioning in a two-room thatched house of a villager, who earlier used it as a cowshed.

Published: 03rd July 2017 02:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2017 10:10 AM   |  A+A-

Students at the thatched school in Talapanka of Jagannathprasad block | Express

By Express News Service

BERHAMPUR: Once a cowshed, now a school! Shocking it may seem, but is an uncomfortable truth.
 Exposing the dismal state of Odisha’s education system, the New Primary School in Talapanka of Jagannathprasad block is functioning in a two-room thatched house of a villager, who earlier used it as a cowshed. As many as 36 students, including 21 girls, are enrolled in the primary school which has Classes I to V. All the students are from tribal families.


Jagannathprasad, one of the under-developed blocks in Ganjam district, has a majority of tribal population.
The kutcha house from which the school operates has mud walls on three sides while the fourth is missing. Taking advantage of the open side, stray animals and snakes often sneak into the classrooms.
While the school has no blackboards, toilet facilities and playground remain on the wishlist of students. This apart, though three teachers were appointed for the school, two have remained absent since long. A lone teacher, Kartikeya Sethi, is managing the affairs.


Moreover, block education officials seldom visit the school though Talapanka village is hardly 4 km away from the block headquarters.When queried, a seemingly hesitant Kartikeya said the higher authorities have been apprised of the situation in the school and prolonged absence of the two teachers. It is up to them to find a solution to the problems, he said.


Contacted, Block Education Officer Amar Singh Meher said the school lacks a building due to absence of a suitable patch of land.He said a generous person in the village has agreed to donate land for the school. Once the registration process is completed, a new building would be constructed.
 Education apart, the health scene is also bleak in Jagannathprasad. Sources said a number of doctor posts are lying vacant in the block which has often hit headlines for outbreak of diseases due to consumption of contaminated water. Provision of safe drinking water continues to elude the people of Jagannathprasad.
 Connectivity to the block also remains poor with several villages yet to have proper roads.

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