Fact-check: Viral images of well-maintained UP primary school are from 2016 – Alt News


Images of a well-maintained government primary school in Uttar Pradesh are being circulated on social media. The name and address of the school — Prathmik Vidyalaya, Itayla Mafi — are visible in one of the images. Sharing the photos, many users have lamented the fact that the improved condition of government schools in Uttar Pradesh in the Yogi Adityanath regime has not made headlines in the international media. It is pertinent to note that the viral claims surfaced following a New York Times report on August 16 on the AAP government’s efforts toward improving the standard of government schools in Delhi.

Haryana’s former BJP IT Cell chief Arun Yadav tweeted these images on September 3, with the caption, “ये प्राईमरी स्कूल उत्तर प्रदेश के जिला संभल में है” (Translated: This is a primary school is located in Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh). His caption further reads, “अगर ये दिल्ली की तस्वीर होती तो अंतराष्ट्रीय अखबारों में सुर्खियां बनाई जाती” (Translation: Had it been a picture of Delhi, headlines would have been made in international newspapers). (Archived link)

User Tanmay Shankar also tweeted these images. His caption reads, “योगी सरकार में काम दिखावे के लिए नहीं बल्कि प्रदेश को आगे बढ़ाने के लिए होता है।” (Translation: Work is not done for show but for the progress of the state in the Yogi government). (Archived link)

Standing counsel in the Supreme Court of India for Goa, Prashant Umrao also tweeted these images on September 4 with the caption, “ये प्राईमरी स्कूल उत्तर प्रदेश के जिला संभल में है” (Translation: These are pictures of primary schools in Uttar Pradesh), thus indicating that the images are representative of government primary schools in Uttar Pradesh in general. (Archived link)

Several users including Politician Sadhvi Prachi also shared these images on Facebook with the same claim.


Fact-check

Upon a keyword search with the name of the school on Google, Alt News found a OneIndia article dated October 19, 2016, containing the same viral images of the school in Sambhal district of UP. The report is an account of how the condition of the school building, its maintenance, overall administration and even students’ attendance improved drastically once Principal Kapil Malik took office in 2015. (Archived link)

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We found a video interview of principal Kapil Malik by The Lallantop uploaded on February 7, 2017, where he takes the interviewer around the campus and gives a detailed account of how the school functions. In that interview, at the 10:00 mark, the interviewer asks Malik how much money he receives from the authorities and the government, to which Malik replies, “We don’t get any money from the authorities. Everything you see around was funded by me, from my own salary. The greenery, the bathrooms and other necessities were funded by me. I also pay for the maintenance of the school and spend around Rs. 5000 every month.”

Alt News reached out to the principal of the school, Kapil Malik, who said, “We get around Rs. 75,000 every year from the government for maintenance purposes, but that amount does not suffice. I have spent approximately Rs. 20-25 lakhs from my pocket for the construction of the present building. At present, I spend around 50,000 every year”.

He further said, “Before I got associated with the school in 2010, the school had an enrollment of only 30 students approximately. Now there are 300 students enrolled in our school. We have to refuse admission to many due to a lack of seats”.

When asked when the viral images were clicked, Malik replied, “They were taken in 2015”. It must be noted that the BJP government under Yogi Adityanath came into power in Uttar Pradesh in March, 2017.

The school was recognized as “the cleanest school” in the state in 2017. Malik received the award from Yogi Adityanath. Malik had also uploaded an image of him receiving this award on Facebook.

Posted by Kapil Malik on Monday, 13 August 2018

To sum up, the viral posts on social media along with images of a shining government primary school in Uttar Pradesh and the demand that the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government be acknowledged by international media for the “improvement of government schools in UP” are misleading.

Principal of Prathmik Vidyalaya, Itayla Mafi, Kapil Malik informed us that the government provides little funding for the school. Malik himself spent around Rs. 20-25 lakhs for the construction of the present building. He spends around Rs. 50,000 every year for maintenance. He also told Alt News that the viral photos were clicked in 2015, much before Yogi Adityanath came to power.

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