Guardians are extremely concerned about the situation
Thousands of students are attending classes every day, in fear, as more than 200 dilapidated buildings of different government primary schools in Khulna district are in grave danger of collapse.
Guardians are extremely concerned about the situation. Nasima Begum, guardian of a student of Sonadanga Government Primary School, said: "Like others, I have become nervous after the school building was damaged and declared unusable."
"However, the tension was curtailed a bit after classes were shifted to another school building. The situation is still frustrating because we do not know when the new building will be constructed," she said.
A female school student, Jui, said: "Since classes were shifted to another school, I have to go to school in the afternoon shift whereas my friends get to go home and play."
According to district education office sources, there are 127 government primary schools in the Khulna metropolitan area, of which, 20 are in an extremely dilapidated and risky condition. Some of these institutions have been closed due to a complete lack of usability. The district's education office was forced to shift the classes to other schools.
Sonadanga Government Primary School is among the ones at high risk of collapse. Students of this school are attending classes at Sonadanga Abu Bakkar Khan Government Primary School, which has also been identified as risky.
Mahmuda Akhter, head teacher of Sonadanga Government Primary School, said: "Funding has been allocated for the new building. We are currently holding classes in a separate school after ours was damaged in 2015. Teachers and students are suffering a great deal of stress since there are not enough rooms in Abu Bakkar Khan Government Primary School."
Md Yusuf Ali, head teacher and founder of Sonadanga Abu Bakkar Khan Government Primary School, said: "There are only four rooms in the half-cemented school building and classes are being held in two shifts. Students of Sonadanga Government Primary School attend class after 12pm. The schedules are causing difficulty for both students and teachers."
Apart from the Khulna metropolitan area, the district education office has also identified 189 schools, located in different upazilas, that are at high risk of collapse.
The list includes: 37 of 142 schools in Koyra upazila of Khulna, 14 out of 214 schools in Dumuria upazila, 30 out of 102 in Terokhada upazila, 19 out of 119 schools in Dacope upazila, 12 of 150 schools in Dighalia upazila, 25 of 167 schools in Paikgachha upazila, six of 55 schools in Phultala upazila, 40 of 155 schools in Batiaghata upazila, and six of 68 in Rupsa upazila.
Khulna District Primary Education Officer ASM Sirajuddoha said: "Education officials have been directed to make a list of risky school buildings in the nine upazilas of Khulna, where as the Local Government Engineering Department will fix the damaged buildings. The ministry has asked for the list."
Meanwhile, the education activities in the dilapidated and deserted schools are impeded causing the quality of education to fall. The reputable Government Laboratory School in Khulna is one such school.
Though portions of the school's ceiling plaster have collapsed and injured students, the authorities have paid no heed to it. Around 1,050 students are still attending classes at the school amid extreme risk.
Two portions of the ceiling of a ground floor room at the school collapsed in September, 2017. Luckily, no one was injured in that incident as there was no class taking place in there on that day.
Mrs Khaleda Khanam, acting head teacher of the Government Laboratory School, said: "The structure of the building is vulnerable and it needs to be reconstructed. Several official letters have been sent to the concerned department. However, we have not received a remedy yet."
Previously, on Saturday, a third-grader was killed—and five others injured—as a portion of their school ceiling collapsed on them in Barguna’s Amtali upazila.
Following the incident on Monday, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education asked the authorities concerned to identify risky government primary schools buildings across the country and submit the report within 15 days.
Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister, Md Tajul Islam, has also directed officials concerned to identify risky school buildings across Bangladesh.