Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday set a goal for all government schools to install the technology required for Digital Classrooms (DCR) and begin engaging with the programme by Jan 25, 2018.
While the ambitious programme by the government is aimed at the all-round development of students, the ground reality is an abysmal lack of minimum amenities in some primary schools in the state.
Throvagunta, a tiny village off the Chennai-Guntur highway (NH-16) in Ongole, has a Mandal Parishad Primary School with 80 to 85 students from class 1 to class 5, whose parents are mostly auto-drivers, daily wage earners and tobacco factory labourers.
Trouble began in early 2009 for Throvagunta kids when, as part of the NH-16 road-widening mission, their school was partially damaged. Not only that, the road-widening works made it difficult for the students to cross the road and a 10-year-old girl lost her life in an accident while crossing the road to attend school.
At that time, villagers demanded a new building for housing the primary school or an alternative as the road had become life-threatening to kids. Officials then shifted the school to a two-room SC community hall, from where the school has been functioning till now.
According to the school’s headmaster, it has been difficult to accommodate all the students in the local hall.
Speaking to TNM, he said, “We have enough number of teachers but it’s becoming tough to cram all the students in the hall.”
He adds, “While we can run one of the five classes outside under a tree, we are afraid there might be snakes or insects. When it rains, we have to pack them all back into one classroom.”
When asked about any efforts taken by the government towards helping the school, the headmaster said, “Officials are ready to provide funds to construct a new building if the land is shown to them.”
He added, “Earlier a group of NRIs had come forward to provide a 20-cent land, but there has been no progress after that.”
N Uttam Kumar, a political activist belonging to YSRCP from the village, said, “We have approached the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan officials many times; they say they can only provide funds for constructing a building but not for buying site.”
He added, “The same space is also being used for DWCRA (Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas) meetings, and distribution of medicines and old age pension.”
He requested the officials and concerned people to look into the matter.