CHENNAI: The state government, which plans to shift 95,000 people (23,000 households) to Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) tenements in Perumbakkam, faces a challenge in ensuring that thousands of children of these families have access to schools.
To an RTI petition by Vanessa Peter, policy researcher at the Information and Resource Centre for the Deprived Urban Communities, TNSCB stated that it would construct 20 Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centres, five primary schools, two high schools and two higher secondary schools in Perumbakkam.
But TNSCB is yet to complete construction of the proposed schools. All it could do is convert five of the tenements into a school that has been functioning since December, 2014. Now only three ICDS centres function in the locality.
The existing school, which has children from Class 6 to Class 10, has 39 students. There will be a huge influx -likely in the thousands -in Perumbakkam when the authorities move families from the banks of the the city’s waterways to this locality . Peter said population of children will be around 20%, which translates to 19,000 students.
“For this, at least 11 schools each of a capacity of 2,000 will be required,” she said. “However, there is provision only for nine schools in the layout and no structure is complete so far.” When TOI visited Pe rumbakkam on Thursday , it has found the `school’ functioning out of the tenements has crammed classrooms, no libraries or laboratories.There is also no playground.The building is not designed for a school, and there are safety issues involving including absence of emergency exits in the eightstorey building. There is no boundary wall either, which is a violation of Section 19 of RTI Act.
Teachers say the premises were flooded during the ises were flooded during the recent rain. “There is a shortage of space, facilities and faculty as it is a temporary arrangement. But we may have to accommodate children of the affected families when the authorities move them here,” a teacher said, adding that rainwater is yet to drain out from many parts of Perumbakkam.
A government official said students can go to three schools (primary , middle and higher secondary) in Semmencherry . “We have completed 80% of the work on a high school and it will open shortly . The temporary school will be shifted once it is opened. We also plan to open another primary school,” he said.