On one side of the library in Jaynagar Government Primary School in Keraniganj stands a black digital piano. Dust has gathered on the surface and with each passing day the piano sits idle, it decays.
"The piano has already become infested with termites and different parts are coming off," said Shamsul Haque, office assistant at the Keraniganj government primary school on the outskirts of Dhaka city.
This is one of the 5,000 digital pianos the Korean government donated to state-run primary schools across Bangladesh in 2011. As the school teachers cannot play the pianos, they have been sitting idle for the last 11 years.
According to the spokesman of the South Korean Booyoung company, which made the pianos, the price of each piano was around Tk1,00,000 at the time. The donation was aimed at broadening the scope for elementary-level students in Bangladesh to learn music. So far, nothing of the sort has happened.
Mastura Jahan Sara, a fourth-grade student at the school said she knows there is a piano in the school but she cannot play it. Another student Ehanul Haque Alif echoed: "I saw it [the piano] in the room but I cannot play it."
The teachers admitted they could not put the piano to use.
The acting headteacher Halima Khatun of Joynagar Primary School said that the government donated the pianos around 10 years ago. Due to the absence of piano lessons, the teachers never learned to play the instrument.
"What we do regularly is clean the piano and keep it covered in the room," said acting headteacher Halima Khatun.
Hasina Razzaque and Nurun Nahar Akter, two teachers at the school, took a one-day training in Dhaka once.
"After the training, we would bring the piano [out of the room] and play recorded songs during the morning assembly," said assistant teacher Hasina Razzaque. "It is impossible to learn to play the piano with a single day of training."
Hasina confirmed that the piano was last brought out for the morning assembly five years ago. A local musician was once brought in to play the piano, but even he did know how to play it.
"The piano was not a good choice for Bangladesh's cultural landscape," she said, adding, the Korean government should have given them traditional musical instruments like the harmonium and tablas.
So what is the future of the piano? Unsure, the headteacher replied, "we will take care of the piano as long as we can."
The fate of the Korean piano is the same at the Panchdola Government Primary School in the same area. The piano has been kept in the library. Two teachers of the school also received piano lessons.
"I think at least one year of training is necessary, whereas I got only a three-day training. It's very insufficient," said senior teacher Ameda Khatun, "They gave us training on switching it on and off and playing the recorded songs."
She said they often play the piano during the assembly and they play the recorded national anthem and other patriotic songs of Bangladesh.
The piano is not serving any real purpose, the teachers said. Primary schools do not even have music teachers.
"We did not receive piano lessons. As a result, we have to teach students with recorded songs," said the headteacher of Panchdola Government Primary School, Atia Akhter.
In yet another school, the Bhawal Monoharia Government Primary School in Keraniganj, the piano shared the same fate.
Shamima Nazneen, the headteacher of Bhawal Monoharia Government Primary School said that on different occasions like the Independence Day and International Mother Language Day they bring out the piano and play recorded music.
"You will not find a teacher who can play the piano [in the area]," said Shamima Nazneen.
At this school, the students do not even get the chance to touch the covered piano in the teacher's office room. "Space issue" cited the headteacher to explain the location of the idle piano.
When asked about the pianos, Muhibur Rahman, director general of the Directorate of Primary Education, said that he had joined the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education as an additional secretary in April this year.
"This is the first time I am hearing about the [Korean] pianos in [Bangladesh's] primary schools," he said.
The Korean government also donated 50,000 blackboards to different schools in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is not the only country the Korean government donated pianos to. The Korean company Booyoung built about 600 elementary schools and donated 500,000 blackboards and 60,000 digital pianos in Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, East Timor and Malaysia.