Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kendrapara/Rajnagar, Feb 11:
In clear defiance of guidelines, students of Birganj Project Primary School under Rajnagar block in Odisha’s Kendrapara district have been engaged in construction of toilets and kitchen rooms by school authorities.
Instead of using labourers for works like soaking bricks in water before their use in construction, curing of walls and cleaning of cement from the galvanized iron doors, the school has engaged students for these jobs.
The matter has become the talking point here after these activities were captured on camera by ‘Sambad’.
It may be noted that the guidelines laid down by the government for universalization of primary education and attracting students to schools prohibit engagement of students in any work other than studies.
While the teachers of the school are reluctant to speak on the issue, Cluster Resource Center Coordinator (CRCC) Madhab Chandra Kar actually defends the use of school students in construction work. “If children will not water them, then who will?” he asks.
District Education Officer (DEO) Markat Keshari Ray expressed serious concern on the issue saying students can be only asked to clean their classrooms and nothing else.
Ray said enough funds have been granted for construction of the school building and teachers responsible for it need to be penalized. But he hastened to add that only the DPC of the Sarva Sikshya Avijaan (SSA) can take steps in this regard.
DPC Gadadhar Behera termed the practice completely illegal and assured steps in this regard and action against the erring teachers of the school.
The DPC has sought information on the incident through officials of the department. He has also sought the photograph of the incident.