Students were forced to sit under the sun with their uniforms in govt schools of Punjab to give the final exam papers on Thursday and Friday.
They found it difficult to write as answers sheets were covered in dust. The students have to sit on the floor (sometimes without floor mats) in open playground and under trees. They could be seen in the uncomfortable state.
The Punjab govt simply says that it does not have funds to buy benches.
Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) is currently conducting its board exams for class 10 and 12 while State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) conducts class 5 to 8 exams. The students are not detained even if they fail.
At a senior secondary girl’s school in Bharat Nagar, more than 150 students of classes 6, 7 and 9 sat in the wild grass with construction materials in the open. 200 out of 550 students of class 11 were seen sitting under the trees.
Kamaljit Kaur, Principal of the school said to the media,” To adjust 600 students of class 10 and 30 from class 5 who came from other schools, we have to make our own students of 6,7,9 and 11 sit in the open and on the floors. We have a shortage of at least 100 benches.”
In another government schools in Talwandi Rai, the school served as a center for regular and open students for classes 10 and 12 but the school had only 240 benches. 485 candidates appeared for the board exam sitting on the floor.
Establishment of examination centers in Punjab is done without checking the available benches with the school.
In a government primary school in Sarabha Nagar, students of class 1 to 4 gave exams under the sun.
A student said, “My back and legs started to pain after an hour. We had drawing exam. Anyway, it wasn’t possible to draw perfectly without a bench.”
Prashant Goyal, Directorate of School Education, Punjab told the media,“ The central government schemes, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), do not have any budgetary provision for furniture in schools.”
“We do not have furniture component under SSA or RMSA. So, we entirely depend on the state budget for benches grant. It is a fact that there is an extreme shortage of benches in our schools right now. We have demanded Rs 22 crore this year from the state for benches. As of now, the budget is extremely tight to provide new benches.” He added.