ARIYALUR: Lack of adequate infrastructure at schools is what affects students the most, and a case in point is the Government Higher Secondary School in Paranam village of Ariyalur district. Built in 1984, it was upgraded from high school into higher secondary school in January 2021. It has 764 students studying from Class 6 to 12 and 28 teachers, including the headmaster.
However, parents and activists allege that students of six to seven classes are forced to sit under the shade of a tree and in a bicycle stand, as there are insufficient number of classrooms.
According to sources, students come to this school from different areas such as Pilakurichi, Veerakkan, Paranam, Nagalkuzhi and Irumbilikurichi. Toilets for girls are poorly maintained, the school also lacks adequate laboratory facilities for subjects like physics, chemistry, zoology and botany.
Parents say their complaints to the Education Department in Ariyalur and the Collectorate have not yielded any result. P Selvam, a social activist from Paranam, says, "Teachers are forced to seat students of two sections in the same classroom. Sitting under trees or in a bicycle stand is certainly not the ideal way to study with concentration. There is also a shortage of teachers."
"In 2015, a Class 10 student got 499 marks out of 500 and topped in the State. Teachers here do a good job and many people, including my relatives, have enrolled their children in this school. The government should immediately take steps to provide adequate facilities," he says.
A 15-year-old girl student says, "Sitting near the toilet and in the bicycle stand is difficult because of the stink from around the place. When a lot of students sit as a combined, single class, the teacher is not loud enough for all of us. Sitting on the ground makes our uniform dirty. Besides, there isn't any blackboard in the bicycle shed or under the tree. When it rains, students are crammed into the available rooms."
When contacted, Ariyalur Chief Education Officer M Raman says, "We are aware of this issue and are taking action. There is lack of space to construct a building inside the premises. However, this problem will be fixed soon."