The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had budgeted Rs 8 crore for procuring benches for schools in 2009. Two years on, students at most MCD schools continue to sit on the floor. An MCD school at Shahdara is one such school. Twenty years after it was built, kids are yet to sit on a bench.
In some cases, MCD has built porta cabins for students who earlier had to sit in tents. However, the cabins are so crammed that children feel suffocated. “We have 281 students in our school and only four porta cabins. Some students even have to sit outside the cabins,” said R P Pal, principal, Mustafabad MCD school. A group of such students recently sent 140 postcards to the chief justice of Delhi high court, highlighting their plight.
Justices Dipak Misra and Manmohan have converted these postcards into a public interest litigation and the case came up for hearing earlier this month. The court had summoned education committee director Prem Lata after photographs, depicting the dismal state of these schools, were submitted before it as evidence. Delhi HC counsel Ashok Aggarwal inspected three such schools along with MCD commissioner K S Mehra and both were shocked to find the sorry state of the schools. “Right now, almost 10 lakh children don’t go to schools and if tomorrow they turn up, there is no space for them. MCD officials keep themselves busy in making policies and plans for students that never take off. ,” said Aggarwal.
MCD is to provide 70,000 benches to its schools. But only 12,000 benches were bought in 2009. “These benches are inspected by the Shri Ram laboratory. It checks the durability of the wood used to make these benches and only after its green signal, we can purchase them. But the lab has put an objection,” said Mahindra Nagpal, the chairman of the education committee.
Only one question - what happened to the unspent money?
Supriyo, a class XII student of St Thomas School was riding pillion with this friend Atif Rehman on a sports-bike on AJC Bose Road flyover. Atif lost control while racing with another friend. Supriyo, who was helmet-less, suffered injuries on his head, belly and leg. Another passing by motorcyclist Asish Chowdhury stopped to help. He failed to stop anyone else on the flyover to get the injured boy to a hospital (within a kilometer from the scene of the accident). Finally he had to resort to put his (and the damaged accident bike) bike sideways to block traffic. Finally, Supriyo was taken to the hospital but survived only for another 30 minutes.
Yes, racing on India's roads is not a great idea and neither is not wearing a helmet. But, not stopping to help accident victims is definitely much worse.
The director of public instructions in Kerala, Mr A.P.M. Mohammad Hanish, perhaps went somewhat overzealous on 31st July and issued an order banning cinematic dance in all government, aided and unaided schools across Kerala. This order also includes CBSE and ICSE affiliated schools (which operate on the basis of a No Objection Certificate) in the state. The district education authorities are to implement the order with immediate effect in 15,000 schools across the State.
Mr Hanish said “It has come to our notice that certain private organisations and TV channels are promoting cinematic dance in schools all over the state...It has reached ridiculous levels with classrooms are being used for cinematic dance training.’’
He said there were reports that some of the so called cinematic dance experts and trainers were using the opportunity to exploit students. Such restrictions are the need of the hour, he said.
Though the order does border on the humorous, there might be an element on skewed focus in some schools. The dance training is obviously, not the focus for a school and neither is lending out class rooms for commercial purposes.