Out of 19,000 Punjab schools, 10,000 have no furniture:Controller and Auditor

CHANDIGARH: Ever wondered why Punjab is at the 21st spot in literacy rate in the country? Here are some reasons. As many as 10,341 schools in Punjab do not have benches or desks for students of primary and upper primary sections, revealed a Comptroller and Auditor (CAG) report tabled in the assembly on Tuesday. There are overall 19,962 schools for students of classes 1-8 under the Centre's Sarva Shikshya Abhiyan (SSA) scheme. The report also disclosed that 405 schools did not even have classrooms, resulting in students studying in the open. It also said that 26 school buildings in Patiala district had been declared unsafe, with several accidents, forcing 4,826 kids to study in open space. It also revealed that 69 schools in Punjab are operating from rented buildings or buildings under construction while 286 did not have playgrounds.The report also takes a dig at the teaching facilities. The auditor found that 1,170 primary schools in Punjab are operating with just one teacher and 572 upper primary schools have less than three teachers during the past five years. According to the Right To Education Act (RTE), there should be at least two teachers in a primary school and three in upper primary schools. The CAG also found that Punjab government spent around Rs 6.76 crore more than the allocated fund (Rs 45.13 crore) for buying books for primary and upper primary students between 2013-16. The SSA provides for free text books to all children of government, government aided, local body schools and aided Madarsas. The ceieling for textbooks for each child at primary school is fixed at Rs 150 and Rs 250 for upper primary school.