Punjab’s crumbling school on vanishing ground

Faridkot, Punjab: Once part of an old jail now is a school prisoner to time. The age of the Jail Road (Sadik Road) government primary school here is a mystery to even its teachers. The structure, remnant of the long-gone princely days of Faridkot, sure came up many years before Independence.

All the jail land has come into the control of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) and the prison has moved. Left with no land of its own, the school is ineligible for receiving official grant. No money has come to it for years.

Everyday, nearly 125 students in five classes and the five teachers come to a school with no furniture, no room (discounting the one in disrepair), no washroom, and no electricity or any other facility. “We organise classes under trees,” said a teacher (not wanting to be named). “The school has no teaching learning environment.”

The building was declared unsafe years ago. Teachers have order to send the children home every time it rains. The structure can crumble anytime during heavy showers.

In the rains, the school compound is filled with water, students lose their only place to sit, and there are no studies. Teachers have dug some open some open-pit toilets and they cook the midday meal as well under the trees. Now even the land is almost gone.

“I have written to the deputy commissioner of Farikot and higher authorities to seek new space for the school,” said district education officer (primary) Parminder Singh Brar.

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