Wanted: School buildings for tribal children in Visakhapatnam

Successive governments have made tall claims, but not much has changed in tribal villages, especially in those perched atop hills.

Published: 28th December 2021 10:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th December 2021 10:31 AM   |  A+A-

Classrooms being disinfected ahead of public exams at Presidency Girls Higher Secondary School, Egmore in Chennai.

Image for representational purpose (File photo| EPS)

Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: Here’s a school with a difference. As many as 30 students hold umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun as their teachers conduct the classes, thanks to the lack of a proper school building. 

Sitting under umbrellas, tribal kids
of Buriga and Gudem villages in
Vizag Agency, attend classes | EXPRESS

Successive governments have made tall claims, but not much has changed in tribal villages, especially in those perched atop hills. Basic infrastructure is still a distant dream for these hamlets, as reflected by the ‘parasol school,’ where children of Buriga and Gudem villages of Rompalli panchayat, Ananthagiri mandal, sit under umbrellas to learn on days with clear skies. On rainy days, they stay back at home. 

A building was sanctioned for the school at a cost of Rs 2.5 lakh, village volunteer Appala Raju told TNIE. “But the contractor abandoned the construction after laying the foundation in 2013-14.”

About 80 families of tribesmen live in Buriga and Gudem, and the school’s issue was repeatedly brought to the notice of the authorities and leaders, Raju added. 

“The villagers are ready to complete the construction through ‘shramdaan’, if necessary funds are sanctioned,” the volunteer said.

Two teachers conduct classes for students of Standard I to V. “The absence of a building has been impacting the primary education of these children,” Vidya Committee chairman B Veerayya said.  

He accused engineering officials of the education department of ignoring the construction of the school building. 

No buildings for 16 of 175 schools in Agency villages

According to the reply to a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Agency villages in the mandal has 3,500 students studying in 175 schools, said Fifth Schedule Sadhana Samithi honorary president K Govinda. “Of them, 16 schools do not have buildings. They include schools at Tomekota, Tunisibu, Madelu, and Patipalli in Pedda Kota panchayat, Gudem and Buriga in Rompalli panchayat, and Bonuru in Pinakota panchayat” he pointed out.

Several other schools lack pucca buildings. “In all Agency mandals there are over 200 schools that don’t have buildings,” he said. Cyclone Hudhud blew away the tin roofs of 67 schools in the Agency. The roofs were repaired at a cost of Rs 59.65 lakh. There are toilets in 150 schools though only 50 have running water, Govinda said. 

Appala Raju said they brought the plight of the students of Buruga to the notice of Araku MLA Chetti Palguna during his recent visit and he promised to initiate action to end the miseries of the tribal children.

Construction of school buildings was abandoned midway at Piumpalem village in Ravikamatham mandal, Kivarla panchayat and Vela Mamidi village in Pedda Kota panchayat, Govinda claimed, adding that more than 900 tribal hamlets in the Agency do not have road connectivity. Some others do not have power connection. 

Lack of school buildings and proper road network has been affecting the primary education of tribal children in Visakha Agency, he added.

Villages with no roads identified

Under Mission Connect Paderu, the district administration has identified tribal villages which do not have road connectivity and basic infrastructure. The Mission has as its focus roads, health and education, official sources said. They said the problems of interior and hilltop villages will be addressed soon 


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