The school was declared abandoned in 2017. Two years down the line, things have become even worse because the roof and walls have developed more cracks and the building has become even more derelict. But 159 students are still risking their lives by going to class at the Nayahat Muktijoddha Government Primary School in Rangpur.
Guardians fear that an accident can occur anytime. Teachers said that they are compelled to take classes in the main building because there are no other rooms for the kids.
Declaring the main building of the school in Taraganj Upazila abandoned in 2017, the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) ordered the then headmaster not to hold classes there. Upazila LGED engineer Jamal Ahmed Haider said they also notified the Dhaka office to build a new building.
"However, we are yet to get approval for the new construction," said the official. The Upazila Education Office and the Directorate of Primary Education were also notified several times. They washed off their hands off the matter by allocating some funds.
As the building is beyond repair, the money was sent back.
A visit to the school on Wednesday found it abuzz with students. It was just another ordinary school day with teachers taking classes under the dilapidated roof.
Plaster often falls off and the walls have developed countless cracks. Dark spots are visible on the dumpy ceiling where rainwater dripped into the classroom a few days ago.
Nadira, a third grader, was present there in a damp and leaky classroom. She was aware off the risks, and said she had no choice but to come because there is no other school near her home.
The headmistress of the school, Moushumi Akter, joined the school at the fag end of 2017 after the Local Government Engineering Department declared it abandoned.
She said: "We have no option but to hold classes in such a risky building because we don't have anywhere else to teach our students. Many students do not attend classes regularly. The number of students is on the decline."
Taraganj Upazila Education Officer Mostafizar Rahman also agreed that the school building is unsafe.
"We have informed the higher authorities," he added.
The school building was constructed in 1993. The LGED built it at a cost of Tk 4.20 lakh. The school currently has two shifts — morning shift from 9am to 12 noon, and the day shift from 12 noon to 4pm.