Construction of 9 schools stuck in paperwork for four years
Divisional schools are required to have 10 floors, while district and upazila schools have 6 floors.
After four years of a project to establish nine public secondary schools in six districts, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education has not yet been able to complete the construction of a single school due to failures in land acquisition and administrative burdens.
Of the schools, construction work on three has not started at all, project documents show.
Aimed at ensuring quality education, the school project was resumed in 2018 at a cost of Tk464 crore with a deadline of June 2021. The deadline was extended to June 2023 later. Project officials now say the work may require another extension.
The project comprises two schools each in the division towns of Chattogram, Rajshahi and Rangpur; and one each at Mymensingh, Joypurhat and Sreemangal. The seven schools of Chattogram, Rajshahi, Rangpur and Mymensingh will have 10 floors, and Joypurhat and Sreemangal schools will have 6 floors.
According to project documents, educational institutions will have modern infrastructure and teaching materials.
Besides adequate classrooms, the schools will have a modern ICT lab, science lab, library, multi-purpose room, prayer room, visitors’ room, a room for BNCC guides and girls, a first aid room, a lunch room and a seminar room.
Educational institutions will also have laptops with Internet connection, computers and computer accessories, multimedia projectors, books, sports equipment, scientific equipment and furniture.
According to the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, it took two years to acquire land for two schools in Chattogram’s Patenga. Officials said the two schools are being set up in Patenga – the southern end of town – as suitable land has not been found elsewhere.
Of the two schools, the construction of one has started while the second is the subject of a call for tenders.
Currently, there are ten public schools in the port city. Although Chattogram’s population has increased several-fold over the past 50 years, no new public high schools have been established.
A private school in the metropolis was nationalized last year. However, there are no public secondary schools in Bahaddarhat, Bakalia and Oxygen areas in the northern part of the city.
In Rajshahi, Choto Bangram and Boro Bangram from Boalia have been designated for the creation of two schools. The construction of a school has started while the tender has been launched for the second time for the second.
The city of Rajshahi currently has six public secondary schools, which were established before 1971. Two model schools and colleges were nationalized in Rajshahi last year.
Joypurhat School has the construction up to the second floor completed so far. The district has three public secondary schools.
In Rangpur, schools will be located in Kamalkasta and Uttam region. Construction of one educational institution has begun, while construction work on the second has not yet begun.
Currently, there are only two public secondary schools in Rangpur city, which were established before 1971.
In Mymensingh, the construction of a school near the Dhaka bypass road has started recently. There are three public secondary schools in the city of Mymensingh, which were established before the independence of the country.
In Sreemangal, the school is being built on the premises of the Bangladesh Tea Research Institute. Currently, there is only one public secondary school in this upazila.
Rayhana Taslim, director of the school’s construction project, said land acquisition for the project was “very tricky”.
“Additionally, schools in divisional towns require a lot of permissions from several authorities. These ultimately delayed the project,” the project manager told The Business Standard.
The manager said that although the financial progress of the project is 35% to 40%, the actual physical progress is around 50%. “It may not be completed within the planned time frame of June 2023. It could take another year.”