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Risky schools: Students are being taught outdoors in Thakurgaon

  • Published at 09:10 pm May 16th, 2019
Students sit for class on the premise of Jhargaon Government Primary School after roof of the building collapsed Dhaka Tribune

A total of 64 schools in the district have been deemed dangerous

A school—established a century ago —in Thakurgaon, is teaching its students outdoors due the risky condition of the school building.

On April 17, the roof of Jhargaon Government Primary School building in Sadar upazila collapsed, almost killing the school's night guard.

The night guard, Md Hanif, was inside the building at the time, sweeping the floors, when, suddenly, the roof, in several places, started to cave-in. He barely managed to escape and was unharmed.

Md Hanif said: “I was lucky enough to escape but the children might not be if they continue their classes inside. The building is in dire need of renovation.”

The school was established in 1901; however the concrete building that collapsed was built 20 years ago, in 1997.

Teachers, students, and guardians are all left to wonder how—in the span of just 20 years—the school building reached this critical state. 

The school currently has a little over 200 students who are now forced to attend classes outdoors on the school premises — as classrooms remain unusable. 

The students have to endure the blazing summer heat during class. Plus, the classes will have to be suspended during the rainy season.

Worried for the children’s education, the teachers and parents have raised complaints, which have yet to result in change.

The guardians have remarked that the authorities responsible for the building's construction misappropriated government funds. 

The people who have caused these young students such grievances should immediately be brought to justice, whether they are political leaders, construction authorities, or contractors, they added.

One of the parents, Abdul Auwal, said: “A country that witnessed the Rana Plaza tragedy should be more alert and aware so that such incidents never happen again.

“The only way to prevent this is to identify and apprehend the negligent authorities in this regard and only then our children and people will remain safe.”

Upazila Education Officer Masud Rana said: “I was informed of the matter and I have sent an official letter to the school authorities. Meanwhile, we have drawn up a list of risky school buildings in the district. ”  

Assistant District Education Officer Anisur Rahman said: “So far, we have identified 64 school buildings in the district that are unsafe and unfit for regular classroom activities.

“These include: 24 schools in Sadar upazila, 12 schools in Baliadangi upazila, 12 schools in Ranisankail upazila, and 16 schools in Haripur upazila.”

Md Zakir Hossen, state minister for Primary and Mass Education Ministry, recently addressed a public meeting and announced that no school building in the country would be allowed to continue their activities in risky conditions.

District Primary Education Officer Harunur Rashid said: “We are compiling a list of all the risky buildings and will soon be able to submit it. The identification process is a bit technical and only engineers are able to assist in that process.”

He added that bright young minds are Bangladesh's only chance to create a better future and a better country. Ensuring primary education is a right step towards that future. 

He concluded that, therefore, the students must no-longer be expected to endure such suffering. He hopes that they will grow up to become future: leaders, doctors, teachers, engineers, scientists, and lawyers — plus take Bangladesh forward.