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16 Feb 2017

School with one student, 2 teachers - Water-logging deters parents from admitting children to Dinhata institution

The two teachers and Suchitra at Dinhata Saranarthi Prathamik Vidyalaya. Picture by Main Uddin Chisti
MAIN UDDIN CHISTI, TT, Cooch Behar, Feb. 15: A government-aided primary school in Dinhata town is facing a "student crisis" as the school is inundated during monsoon which deters parents from admitting their children there.
At present, the Dinhata Saranarthi Prathamik Vidyalaya in ward II has two teachers and three students.
"Of the three students, two are physically disabled and rarely attend the school. The third student is a Class II girl who comes regularly. We are in a fix and do not really know about the future of this institution," Mukti Dey Sarkar, the teacher-in-charge of the school, said.
A local youth said: "The school was established in 1950. Since then, students and teachers have been facing the problem of water-logging in the rainy season. During monsoons, the entire school gets marooned because of poor drainage in the area. This is the principal reason that is preventing the parents from admitting their children to the school.
The school has five classrooms, two toilets, water supply, gate, boundary wall and a playground for children.
In 2014, there were 24 students at the school which reduced to 15 in 2015 and to seven in 2016, Mukti said. Since there is only one student, the mid-day meal is also not cooked at the institution, she added.
Sangeeta Saha, the other teacher, said: "Only one student attends the school regularly. Both of us teach her as per the syllabus."
The Telegraph visited the school today and Suchitra Burman, the Class II student, was found sitting in a class alone listening to one of the teachers. "None of my friends took admission here. They go to other schools. I have nobody to play with," Suchitra said.
Kalyani Poddar, the chairman of the District Primary School Council of Cooch Behar, said: "We are aware of the situation at the school. But we alone cannot resolve the problem unless local people and voluntary organisations of the town come forward and encourage enrolment of students. The teachers should also visit houses and gather students," she said.
Local people said they would take up a campaign and an enrolment drive to encourage parents to admit their children to the school.
Dinhata is 25km from here.

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