The rule, or the fundamental principle, of economics works on demand and supply. If there is demand for a particular product, supplies will have to keep pace meeting this demand – and that is how businesses flourish.
However, in the field of education, this principle should not be followed and we should not be waiting for demand for education to pick up to put in place required infrastructure. After all, there is a social obligation towards education that cannot be overlooked and this field cannot be considered on par with other commercial ventures.
Unfortunately, we have reached a situation when such demand for education has far outstripped the supply of essential infrastructure in the form of schools and classrooms. That is reflected in the number of enrollments and the fact that many schools are facing problems of non attendance due to insufficient classrooms. We have just not been able to build enough number of schools or classrooms and though the use of modular buildings and temporary classrooms have been tested and tried out, they need to increase in number if we have to ensure that no student is turned away from education merely because there is lack of accommodation in the classrooms.
Many reports have been tabled and all of them advocate the use of temporary classrooms as the most cost effective and functional method of dealing with this problem. These reports have gone on to specify the type of construction to be used, the overall planning of the site, the actual classroom environment that would be most suitable including the quality of air, light, noise levels that is permissible, safety and many other parameters.
The reports have also indicated that the typical cost of such temporary classrooms would be only about 40-50% of what you would have to spend on a conventional structure, which makes them the ideal alternative solution.
So is there anything that is of concern with such a model?
Well, the only apprehension raised has been that of durability or the life expectancy of such structures. Considering that over time, many of these structures tend to outlive their temporary utility and assume permanent status, this is a valid thought. However, this can be addressed through the use of appropriate materials during construction itself, regular maintenance and so on. Other minor issues such as aesthetics and the location of the facility can also be taken care during the design phase itself so that the structure coming up is pleasing to look at, is near the permanent structure and can provide a long term solution to this problem of shortage of schools and classrooms.
It is therefore very clear that given the tremendous benefits of being able to set up facilities to cater to the ever growing demands of students requiring education in a fiscal manner that is responsible and not too much of a strain, the use of temporary classrooms should be seen as a good worthwhile investment.