The Gra Songgittcham School, located in a remote part of North Garo Hills, has been in existence since the year 1953 and has catered to the educational needs of many youngsters from the area and is a blessing to most that live here.
However, a visit to this institution would bring a tear to the eye given the abject and inhuman conditions to which the teachers and students are subjected to daily.
The village of Gra Songgitcham is near the village of Gabil in the Bajengdoba constituency. According to locals, at least 48 children study in the village’s government lower primary school.
One look at the situation of the school is enough to understand why Meghalaya was recently placed at the bottom of the latest national assessment of education.
It lacks any infrastructure to speak of, with students studying in a building that does not have a door, windows or even a roof.
“There are many students who are studying in this school but the condition of the building is not even basic by any standards. There is no roof, wall, windows or doors. It is impossible to take classes during the rainy season and children generally get a holiday during rains. Can anyone even get basic education in this sort of school?” said a local resident, Tengson Sangma.
The school also acts as a polling station during elections, which means that polling officers face the same hardships when they have to perform their duties.
“Imagine the embarrassment we have to suffer and the difficulties they face. This situation is accentuated for students and teachers that are forced to use this infrastructure to impart and get educated. The situation is inhuman,” Sangma added.
The villagers have asked their local MLA to look into the matter for the sake of the children and other villagers. They had earlier also informed the district school authorities of the matter but, despite their requests, the powers that be have remained unmoved, which is not surprising coming from the state’s Education Department.