In September 2016, the government primary school in Punjab’s Fatehpur Awana village was demolished after the school building was declared unsafe. The village, located about 10km from Ludhiana, is yet to receive funds for a new school building. Five months on, and into the new year, the school is up and running.
How, you might wonder.
Fatehpur Awana’s residents are paying the rent themselves, to keep the school open for students.
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The villagers came to the decision in order to make sure the school wouldn’t shut down due to the lack of space. Mukesh Saini, the head teacher said in an interview with The Times of India, “We couldn’t have stopped running classes and some villagers suggested that we rent a house.” Prominent members of the village take turns to pay the monthly rent for a three-room building in the village to hold classes.
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Accommodating 140 students across various classes in a small building is difficult, but is managed by holding classes in the corridors and one remaining room in the original building. The school borrowed 20 benches from a recently shuttered private school nearby, while the rest of the students manage on mats.
While they wait for the funds for a 155-room school building to be released, the villagers have said that they will continue paying the fees rather than watch their children being deprived of education.