Gudur, Jan. 11: Kaveri, 11, wakes up early by 7 am to complete her household chores. After finishing her work, she leaves on foot to go to her primary school, around 6 miles away. The school starts at 9 am although Kaveri reaches an hour late. The teachers, aware of the extreme conditions, she has to face, do not rebuke her. After the recent floods that have ravaged the village of Goginenipuram in Nellore district, the roads leading to her school has become swampy and extremely difficult to walk on.
The Government Primary School in Chennore where supposedly 58 students are enrolled, but only 45 turn up has just two teachers to teach them the basic subjects of Mathematics and Science. The school under the Rajiv Gandhi Vidya Mission hasn’t received any sort of funding in the past two years. The school building is in a dilapidated condition and Mrs. B. Chandravarthy, the Head-Mistress fears that the building might collapse any moment.
It’s the same for every other school in the adjoining Mandals. Zilla Parishad High School, Saidapurum has a shortage of 5 senior teachers, and the Principal is worried as two more teachers are retiring next month. “Who will take care of the students here? We already have shortage and once the senior teachers retire, we will be in a difficult condition”, says S. Venkatramanamma, the Principal.
The floods caused havoc in the villages of Nellore with water levels rising up to 6 feet. The Primary School in the village of Nellatur which was located on a highland was unaffected and housed the villagers who had run from their homes for safety. The school remained closed for two weeks and the students suffered.
Most of the students now fear coming to school in fear of travelling through scrub land as water still hasn’t receded from many parts. The village roads have also become dangerous as snakes and other insects have been spotted along the roads.
Even though the students usually belong to the backward caste, they have the desire to study further. Akshara who studies in the 4th standard in Government Primary School in Chennore wants to be a teacher in the future. “All my books were lost when our houses got flooded; I could just save my drawing book”, rued Akshara.
Ramana Reddy, husband of Noti Ankamma, the President of Mandal Praja Parishad, Saidapuram Mandal said that what worried him most was the suffering of young children. He urged the government to compensate the school which has broken compound walls due to floods so that the students do not suffer anymore.
The schools in the Mandal have Radio lessons every alternate day from 11 to 11.30 where the students are taught English grammar. Unfortunately for Zilla Parishad School in Goginenipuram, the radio set was damaged due to flooding in the school’s compound. Rameshwar Rao, the school’s caretaker who was dismissive of the government’s effort to compensate the flood victims, requested the authorities to replace the radio set at the earliest.
Education in Gudur has no doubt taken a huge setback after the floods, but it’s now up to the authorities and the teachers to make sure the conditions doesn’t worsen any further and students get the necessary facilities for them to prosper.