When a nine-year-old Shanti returned to school on Monday after the summer vacations, she used to be expecting benches in her classroom. The fourth class student at a North Delhi Municipal Corporation school in Jahangirpuri had been sitting on mats since final year.
She used to be, on the other hand, greeted with disappointment at the school. “We were told that there will be benches when we return after the vacations. But the situation used to be the same. All of the class used to be sitting on the mats spread on the floor,” Shanti said.
The excitement of attending the first day of school after the vacations used to be dampened for lots of other students like Shanti after they found that they’re going to have to continue to sit down on the floor. Charu (9), another student at the school said, “It’s still better now. We sat on these mats bracing winters in January and February.”
HT had reported in January that around 100 north corporation schools were struggling with the scarcity of benches as a result of which students were forced to sit down on mats spread on the floor. Officials had then said that the benches would be made to be had inside a couple of weeks. Around six months have passed since and the schools are yet to receive the benches.
Shanti and Charu’s school has only 180 benches for over 1,100 students. The school operates in two shifts— for girls in the morning and boys in the evening.
“We have one bench for each and every six students. A few of these benches aren’t even in good shape. We cannot make each and every student sit down on the benches and hence, many of them sit down on the mats,” principal of the school, who did not want to be named, said.
At another north civic body school in Mukundpur only 150 benches are to be had for over 1,200 students, an official said. “We have been giving false assurances to parents who come now and again to complain approximately the benches. We were expecting to receive furniture before the beginning of the session,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.
North corporation mayor Avtar Singh said he visited some schools on Monday and witnessed students sitting on the mats.
“It’s a very sad sight to see students like this. We are trying tough to receive the bid for procuring furniture passed and be sure that all of the schools get benches inside three months,” he said.
There are around 765 schools under the jurisdiction of the north civic body that offer education up to class 5.
According to an official in the branch, the civic body purchases furniture through an e-portal.
“We had passed the bid and also provided the work order to the suppliers. But the suppliers denied to give us the pattern benches. We had to cancel the bid because we could not continue without checking the samples. The process for giving a new bid has started again,” the official said.
Jul 09, 2019 11:45 IST