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Primary school students at risk of building collapse in N’ganj

  • Published at 10:47 pm February 12th, 2020
Students in a classroom Dhaka Tribune

The school building is in such a worn-out state that it could collapse anytime, endangering the lives of countless numbers of students and faculty

While the government continues provide various facilities to primary schools in order to increase the number of school-going children, more than 700 primary students put their lives at risk everyday attending classes in a dilapidated school building. 

The 35-year-old Bandar Boys Government Primary School building is situated on SM Shah Road in Bandar upazila of Narayanganj, which was established in 1956.

The school building is in such a worn-out state that it could collapse anytime, endangering the lives of countless numbers of students and faculty.

During a recent visit, this correspondent found cracks in the walls of the classrooms of the two-storey building. The walls were found to be damped with plasters falling off them. Moreover, the school does not have any toilets or playgrounds either.

Furthermore, the school only has seven classrooms, which are not enough to accommodate the large number of students accepted every year. Therefore, the school building needs renovating soon to ensure safe environment for thechildren, school authorities say.

Nuria Akter, a new attendee of class four, said she felt unsafe in her new classroom because whenever the ceiling fans were switched on, plasters from the roof would fall on students.

Most students who come from underprivileged families continue their studies despite the risk in the only government school of the area for the low tuition fees. Even so, hundreds of students drop out or transfer to other schools, because of the state of the building, said guardians waiting for their wards at the school gate.

Asma Begum, who was there to escort her two children home, said: "We fear for our children’s safety inside the dilapidated building, which could collapse anytime."

Acknowledging the school's poor condition, a teacher of the school, Nikhil Chandra Sutradhar, said the situation worsened in the monsoon season as the rooms flood with rainwater.

Md Moniruzzaman, headmaster of the school, said the school authorities had demanded a reconstruction of the school before the higher authorities. However, as the allocated land was not adequate for a new building, the project had not seen light.

Upazila Education Officer Md Saifuddin said the government’s reconstruction funds had been allocated to the school but were taken back twice owing to the unavailability of adequate land for the infrastructure.

When asked about the situation, Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) Engineer Rajiul Shah said: "Institutions as such require at least four katha (1 katha=720 sqft) of land to get funds from the government, but the Bandar Boys Government Primary School is on only two katha."

Assuring prompt action, Narayanganj Deputy Commissioner Md Jashim Uddin said: "We did not know about the school's dilapidated condition. We will take prompt measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the students."