Teachers face testing times in village school


Above, the living quarters of the teachers and below, goats grazing inside the school premises. Supplied photograph

IBRI: Teaching indeed is a noble profession. And, some 29 teachers of Jabal Al Surat School are proving the cliché right by sticking to their jobs, despite the hardships of working in a difficult terrain. Their school is located in Al Surat mountains in the Wilayat of Ibri.

It is not that they are not complaining. But leaving their students in the village to their fate is not something they ever mull about.

All that they  plead for is support from the authorities to improve their working conditions.
For these teachers, the adversity begins with the access to the village. Al Surat mountains can be reached only on a four-wheel vehicle, or a helicopter, because of the extremely tough terrain.

"Reaching the school is not easy at all!" says a teacher. Five years ago a helicopter used to ferry teachers to Al Surat School but it was stopped for "some strange reason".

Another problem the teachers face is that there is no electricity connection to the village. The authorities have been using a generator to run the school.

"The use of generators affects the computers, printers and other electrical items in the school," says one of the teachers.

Teachers say it's easier for the authorities to connect the school with electricity because the power cable is only 300 meters from the school. "The authorities can make arrangement to connect electricity instead of paying more than RO550 per month for diesel to run electrical generators," points out a teacher.

Winter woes

Also, the temperature here sometimes touches zero during this time of year and consistent rains make it worse for them. The rainfall also messes with the accommodation of the teachers, which comprise porta cabins.

"Apart from our accommodation, when it rains, classrooms also start leaking, with books, electronic devices and other items getting wet," a teacher says.

Science teachers complain of lack of laboratory in the school which makes it hard for them to conduct 'practical classes', which are vital for the subjects.

The school premises has also become a home for goats and donkeys with the school fence having collapsed sometime ago.

"We cannot leave our classrooms open because donkeys and goats will enter the classes," fumes a teacher.

Many of these goats and donkeys leave their waste in the school yard resulting in "unbearable stink" as well.

Teachers are asking for a four wheel vehicle for emergency situations like illness or death.
The 29 teachers who live in six small old porta cabins which don't even have minimum safety standards worry about the cabin collapsing anytime.

Food rationing
Teachers are also forced to store and ration food since there are no facilities such as a food stuff store in Jabal Surat.

There is no health centre there either. Teachers of Jabal Al Surat School had sent a letter to the Director of Education in Dahira governorate two months ago but they claim they are yet to hear from them.

The teachers have also appealed to the authorities concerned to take stock of the situation and meet their requests for better educational facilities for both the students and teachers.

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