Classes in two primary schools in Panchhari upazila of Khagrachhari are badly hampered as they are running with only one regular teacher for each.
The two schools, Rathindrapara Government Primary School and Tokkhiroypara Government Primary School were set up in fiscal year 2015-16 under the government’s “Establishment of 1,500 primary schools” project across the country.
Teachers posted to the two schools do not stick around for long as they are located in remote areas, said the stakeholders.
Rathindrapara Government Primary School is situated about 10 kilometres off the upazila headquarters.
To reach the school, students of surrounding villages need to cross two canals. The journey becomes more troublesome in monsoon, said guardians.
Nazrul Islam continued to serve as the one teacher of the school with 44 students after the other teacher who was posted temporarily left in July.
“Afterwards, the management committee appointed a contractual teacher but we two are too inadequate to run the school,” said Nazrul.
“Teachers are not interested to continue here as most of them are temporary and do not live nearby. Often they manage to cancel the postings. As classes are not held regularly, guardians tend to admit their children elsewhere,” said Arun Bikash Tripura, management committee president of the school in ward 6 of Ultachhari union.
Sujit Mitra Chakma, primary education officer of Panchhari upazila, echoed his statements.
According to his office, there are four primary schools in the upazila under the “Establishment of 1,500 primary schools” project. There are four posts for teachers in each school.
Tokkhiroypara Government Primary School in the same upazila is running with Dipen Chakma as the lone teacher and 31 students.
Dipen, serving there for the last two years, lives at Fuzgang of the upazila.
“I am losing interest to continue here. I have to take a motorbike ride for half an hour and then walk for two hours to reach the school. It becomes very taxing to make such a journey twice daily and take classes six days every week,” he said.
Soukhin Tripura shifted his son, who is in grade III, from the school in January because according to him the classes were not being held regularly.
The Khagrachhari Hill District Council invited applications in 2017 to appoint teachers but is yet to hold the recruitment tests. In August and September, the authorities cancelled two dates showing “unavoidable reasons.”
Contacted, Khagrachhari District Primary Education Officer Fatema Meher Yasmin said she was not aware that the schools are running with one teacher each.
“There are 14 schools running under the project in this district. These schools were opened with teachers posted on attachment. The problem will be solved once teachers are appointed permanently upon completion of the recruitment process,” she said.