Mrunal Manmay Dash

As the 2024 general elections approach, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led Odisha government is leaving no stone unturned in beating its own trumpet with tall claims of transforming the education system in the State. However, a school in Kandhamal district tells a different story altogether.

The sorry state of affairs in the education system has been laid bare at Kasbasa Government High School under Kandhamal’s Daringibadi block where children of three classes are being taught in one classroom.

As per reports, a total of 189 students are studying in the High School from Class 1 to 10. Unfortunately, there are only two classrooms for children of all the 10 classes. Students of classes 6, 7 and 8 reportedly sit in one classroom, while those of classes 9 and 10 sit in another classroom.

With just two classrooms, students of classes 4 and 5 are forced to sit inside the office room. And students of classes 1, 2 and 3 study by sitting on the verandah in a pitiable condition.

“We have just two classrooms in our school. One classroom is used to teach from class 6 to 8 and another classroom is used to teach class9 and 10 students. We are facing big problems in studies due to this,” said a student Devanand Badaseth.

Another student Sajani Baliyarsingh said, “Class 9 and 10 students are studying in the same classroom with two teachers teaching different courses to us simultaneously making it very difficult for us to concentrate on one topic at a time.”

Not only the students, but the teachers find it difficult to teach the students as well. Improvising, they have divided the blackboard into three parts and teach lessons to three classes simultaneously. Sometimes even the children don't know which class or what subject is being taught to them.

“Not only there is a shortage of classrooms, the only two classrooms we have here, are too small and inadequate to sit all the students comfortably, said teacher Madhusmita Pradhan.

Another teacher of the school Pratap Chandra Mallik said, “The school building had collapsed due to heavy rain. But no new building has been approved for this school. We are facing many problems due to shortage of classrooms.”

The students and their parents alleged there was no one to listen to their problems.

Asked about the sorry state of affairs at the school, Daringibadi BDO Gadadhar Patra said, “I know the situation at Kasbasa High School. The work is in progress to transform it under 5T. I hope the works will be completed by the end of December and students will be able to get basic amenities in the school.”

Notably, many students in this village prefer to stay away from school due to the lack of necessary infrastructure as well as an educational environment. As per the locals, if the government does not provide proper infrastructure at the earliest, the future of the children looks bleak.