Khidrapur / Kurundwad / Ingali (Kolhapur): While the flood in Kolhapur and Sangli districts has receded, the problems of schools affected by it still persist.
The heavy downpour and inundation, which continued for days, damaged some school buildings and destroyed books, papers and sports and laboratory equipment in others. While the state government has started distributing new textbooks in the flood-affected region, many students are yet to receive their copies. Schools had to find other places for classrooms as the buildings are yet to be repaired.
In Khidrapur village of Shirol taluka, Urdu Vidya Mandir had to be shut down, shortly after it re-opened. Reason: It was found that the school building was not fit for habitation as it has was weakened due to flood water. MN Ghodke, Junior Engineer, Panchayat Samiti, last month, issued an order to vacate the premises.
A room in a local Marathi-medium school was made available as an alternate venue to run classes. However, it was a difficult task to teach from six classes in one room. The school teachers decided to start three classes on the upper floor of the village mosque and two in a teacher’s house. “While it’s inconvenient for us, we don’t want the students’ education to be affected,” said one school teacher.
In many schools, libraries, computers and even students’ documents were damaged. Almost three thousand books of Allama Iqbal Urdu School in Kurundwad were reduced to the pulp as floodwater reached the first floor of the building, where library is located. The school staff was unable to prevent the damage as it was scrambling to save other important documents. As a result, the books remained inundated for around six days.
The school is now trying to salvage the few books which weren’t completely destroyed.”We were shocked when we saw the library. The books were soaked in water. We spread them out on the second floor and used a hairdryer to save them,” said a teacher.
There’s another issue facing the schools and teachers. Many of the students have lost their study material including textbooks, notebooks and bags. In view of this problem, the state textbook publisher Balbharti, on August 20, announced that it would reprint textbooks for classes 1 to 8. While the decision brought some respite, many schools haven’t received sufficient copies.
“Schools are facing problems due to the inadequate distribution of books. One set of books is being shared by three to four students. If the books are not distributed in time, it could result in a loss of education for the students,” said one teacher.
The schools have sent proposals to the state government for all such compensation. Until the aid of the government, many organizations related to the field of education have started to help the schools and the students. For example, Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) recently distributed educational kits to students in several parts of Kolhapur and Sangli. “Soon the problems will be resolved and the situation will improve,” said Salman Ahmed, president, SIO South Maharashtra.