With 180 students in one room, PTR mocked at here

With 180 students in one room, PTR mocked at here

71-yr-old primary school in Dhandari Khurd has PTR of 1:180 against the norm of 1:30, which is 6 times the ratio fixed in RTE
Naina Mishra
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, July 24
Throwing Right to Education (RTE) Act rules to the winds, this 71-year-old primary school in Dhandari Khurd has played havoc with pupil-teacher ratio (PTR).
Reason: Paucity of rooms to adjust 1,000 pupils
Many old schools in the district have been soliciting attention for an indefinite period and similar is the tale of this school that accommodates 1,000 students from Classes I to V.
The Tribune team on visiting the school found students stacked like herds in classrooms. Students here grapple to pay attention to the lessons taught in class. In a brief time, not every pupil gets a chance to clear doubts from the teacher.
Meanwhile, smaller classes are being taken in corridors amid the commotion.
The school has PTR of up to 1:180 against the norm of 1:30, which is six times the ratio laid by the Central government in RTE. In two separate sections of Class V, a total of 180 students sit in boys’ section, whereas 123 students sit in girls’ section.
Ravinder Kaur, a primary teacher at school, said: “The school has a major infrastructure problem. What will happen if a teacher handles 180 students at once? Naturally, the learning outcome is likely to be hampered. We are contributing to raising a generation with a poor level of basic learning. Why is the PTR prescribed to be only 30 per teacher? It is because, in smaller classrooms, a teacher can pay better attention to each child. The problem has been stagnant over the years with no change in the situation.”
Out of the total eight rooms, two rooms have been declared unsafe by the PWD. With spate in admissions every year, the demand for more teachers has also arisen in the school.
“As per the enrolment, we need 30 teachers as against 26 sanctioned posts. However, the sad part is that we have only 16 teachers, of which we will be left with only 12. Some will shift from here. We need rooms for our school. A couple of years ago, the construction of a few rooms started, but couldn’t be completed due to the interference of a few local leaders. Now, we are seeking grants for two rooms. The space of our school is such that new rooms cannot be built in the ground floor, said head teacher Sukhjinder Kaur.
Monsoon blues
People often enjoy rain, but the monsoon has proved to be a bane for students, who come from vehras. It is not hidden that water stagnation is a major problem in areas such as Dhandari Khurd. Students saunter past the sewage water every day to reach the school. Even the putrid smell and dirty water fail to deter the enthusiasm of students to reach schools. “During rain, the entire area is choked with water and we fear to send children alone. We pick students one by one and drop them safely. It is no less than a Herculean task to take care of primary students amid such adversities,” a teacher said.

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