The Qaumi Senior Secondary School in Quresh Nagar, Delhi, has literally been functioning under the open sky for the past 40 years, with no permanent structures whatsoever. Hundreds of the Urdu-medium school’s students, mostly from poor sections of society, are exposed to extreme weather conditions year after year. The school, at the corner of an Idgah in Quresh Nagar, only has some tin sheds, rusty iron furniture and blackboards, serving as “classrooms” for the 700-odd students enrolled here.
The students studying here are oblivious to the fact that they can even study in traditional classrooms with walls and better infrastructure. Mohammad Adnan, a class 10 student of Qaumi Senior Secondary School, told The Sunday Guardian, “I have never been to a school with walls. We face many problems. During the monsoon, it is very difficult as rain water enters our tin sheds and on most days, we have to be sent back home without classes. Even during summers and winters, it is difficult to sit here and concentrate.”
The school, which has 18 “classrooms”—all separated by some 6 feet tall tin sheds—runs in two shifts to accommodate all the students from Class 1 till Class 12, along with around 35 teachers who teach various subjects.
Several students from the school had also written letters both to the authorities, to voice their concern from time to time, but to no avail.
Reluctant to speak, Mohabbat Ali, principal of the school, told this newspaper that efforts to get a permanent land and building for the school are not going anywhere.
“We have been making efforts ever since we landed here in a temporary structure to run a school for poor minority students, but nothing seems to be working. We have little hope that we will get anything. We are also thankful to the Idgah management committee for giving us some space here to educate these children.”
A writ petition before the Delhi High Court has also been filed in 2015 by educationist and social activist Firoz Ahmed Bhakt, demanding that permanent land be given to the school.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Firoz Ahmed Bhakt said, “Every student has the fundamental right to education, but the conditions under which the children of this school are studying are a violation of their basic right to education in a healthy environment. The pitiable and miserable condition of the school has exposed these children to the harsh weather, making them fall sick several times. We need land for the school.”