Even after the upgradation of Vellore Municipality to the status of a Corporation, the schools within its limits are yet to benefit out of it. The old Municipality, Government and Panchayat Union Schools, which should have been given the status of Corporation schools with all the amenities for children, including basic drinking water and toilet facilities, were yet to be endowed with the same.
Before being upgraded as a Corporation in 2008, Vellore Municipality had 81 schools, including five Municipality and 21 Government schools while the rest were Government-aided and Panchayat Union schools. However, in February 2012, an education committee, with the ward councillors as members, was setup to identify schools that were to be added to the Corporation limits and upgraded as Corporation Schools. In the 17 new areas added to the Vellore Corporation limits, 53 schools were identified, thus taking the number of schools within the limits to 134.
A fund of about Rs 1.5 crore per annum was set for the committee to carry out developmental activities in the schools. Sources in the Corporation said that the committee had funds to the tune of Rs 3 crore, which had accumulated over the past two years as no development work was carried out.
“Even the school names were not changed as Corporation Schools,” said a teacher of a Panchayat Union School, which was added to the Corporation. He said that the idea underlying the process was to upgrade schools from village or municipal level to city level, which meant providing adequate facilities at the institutions. But, basic amenities such as drinking water and toilet facilities were lacking in these schools.
Madhan, a Class 6 student of the Government Higher Secondary School in Sathuvachari said that water was drawn from a well in his school, but teachers there asked the students to bring water bottles and use the well water to wash tiffin boxes, since the groundwater was contaminated owing to poor maintenance.
According to the Corporation Education committee President K Suriya Achari, “The committee had conducted inspection of every school in the area and had come up with a proposal of providing generators to seven schools, water purifiers to 89, sink wells at 34, repair and build toilets at 18, restore the ceiling and infrastructure of 14, playing materials to 110 schools and creating playgrounds at three schools.” Corporation staff were involved in making an estimate of the total cost for the implementation of the project, and once the estimate was ready, development works would be carried out in the schools, he added.