Classes of a government primary school in Tangail were being conducted in the yard of a private home, since the schoolhouse was destroyed by river erosion two years ago.
The school’s headmaster Azam Ali said the tin-roofed structure of Govindapur Government Primary School, built on 40 decimals of land in Betuajani village in Nagarpur upazila, was hit by the erosion of the Dhaleswari river in August 2017.
Initially, they held classes in the periphery of the destroyed structure but further erosion led the school management to shift the classes in the yard of Muhammad Abdul Karim, a resident of Betuajani, last year, added Azam.
Now, four teachers, excluding the headmaster, run three classes simultaneously in two shifts for 115 children, who take lessons sitting on benches set haphazardly under the open sky.
The students and teachers can hardly hear each other over the cacophony produced in the absence of any physical barrier separating the different grades.
The headmaster said the school authorities have to suspend classes on rainy days and exams are taken inside a nearby mosque to avoid interruption from bad weather.
He alleged that students are losing interest in studies in such conditions and eight students dropped out from the school last year.
“I have to go door-to-door to convince parents to send their children to school,” Azam said, fearing further incidents of drop outs if the current situation continues.
Third grader of Govindapur Primary, Sadia Akter said, “I took admission here because it is close to my house, but I do not like coming to a school without a classroom. Next year, I am thinking of taking admission in another school even if it is far away from my home.”
Complaining that their children’s studies are being hampered, three parents demanded immediate reconstruction of the schoolhouse.
Nagarpur Upazila Nirbahi Officer Syed Fayezul Islam said that earlier this year, the Education Engineering Department allocated Tk 5 lakh, donated by locals, for constructing a tin-roofed, brick-walled structure for the school on 25 decimals of land in Betuajani.
Although the construction work started in July, it could not be completed in time due to floods, he said.
He is, however, hopeful that the 2020 academic year can be started in the reconstructed schoolhouse.
After locals of Govindapur village established the school in 1987, it was first devoured by the Dhaleswari in 2004. It was then shifted to Betuajani and nationalised in 2013.
Muhammad Abdul Karim, a high school teacher, said he is not bothered with the academic activities of the school taking place in his house’s yard.
“As a teacher myself, I feel it is my duty towards the children of the village,” he said.