The school has been under-construction for a year
Students of Habiganj's Nazipur Govt Primary School are attending classes under a tree as their institution has been under-construction for a year now.
Almost 118 students attend these classes under the open sky, by bringing along their own plastic sacks to sit on. Their education depends on the weather since, in case of rain, the students either have to cover themselves with leaves or have to accommodate themselves in a congested room of an old abandoned building.
Teachers, as well as guardians, are tensed about the well-being and future of their children. Problems such extreme heat and insect-bites are causing severe discomfort, and children are losing interest in their studies due to the fear of infections and diseases.
Sources said, a construction firm named M/S Ujjal Traders started the construction work of the new school building in April, 2018. Although a year has passed, the construction work hasn’t been completed even in the extension period,which ended in July.
A student of the school, Joy Das conveyed his frustration over the matter to Dhaka Tribune and said: "Our classes are being held under a tree for almost a year now. It is really hard to concentrate in hot weather amidst the constant fear of insects."
Kamala Rani Das, another student of the school said: "Everyday we need to bring a plastic sack to sit. The humid weather, insects, and lack of classroom facilities appliances makes each class day worse than the last."
Assistant Teacher Sefali Akter mentioned that the students are becoming less in number everyday for the situation and said: "Sometimes we divide the classes of 118 students in shifts of 20 students each period, and take four classes each day in the congested room.
"When the attendance is high, we take classes under the tree to avoid disruptions to their studies, but in case of rain we send them home," she added.
Another Assistant Teacher of the school, Pangkaj Modok blamed the dilly-dally of the construction company to finish the construction work in time and said some students acquired infections due to bug-bites and others are in constant fear of having them. As a result, they are avoiding school, which is greatly affecting their education and future.:”
Head-master Pitambar Chandra said: "After the construction work began, the school authorities and locals contributed and gave them an abandoned half-built room to run the school temporarily.
"However, it is too small to accommodate our large number of students, and it also gets drenched from the rain during the monsoon season. So either we take classes under the tree, or we send them home."
He added that they asked the authorities to find a remedy for the situation, but no visible steps were taken.
Baniachong Upazila Education Officer, Saiful Islam said: "We directed the contractors and engineer to finish the construction as early as possible. We are hoping the temporary discomfort will end soon."
An engineer of Baniachong Upazila Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Al Noor Tareque said: "We already extended the contractor’s time by three months. If they fail to finish this time, we will definitely take some legal action."
Owner of M/S Ujjal Traders, Ujjal Ahmed, however, denied the allegations of mismanagement and said that the raw materials arrive late due to the poor conditions of roads and communication, and that is why the construction of the building is taking time.
Ujjal said: "We are trying our best to finish the work and hope to hand-over the building as soon as possible."