Over 1,000 schools out of service: Report

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu
Over 1,000 schools out of service: Report

Apr 13, 2015-

A sharp decline in student enrolments has led to the closure and merger of hundreds of public schools across the country by March this year.

A Department of Education (DoE) record shows 1,070 schools—3.62 percent of the public schools in the country—mainly from Terai have either been closed or merged. Currently there are 29,525 public schools across the country.

Of the total, 627 schools have been closed and 443 have merged after the numbers of students fell below that of the teachers in the respective schools. The central region, including the Kathmandu valley, recorded the most closures and mergers—617 schools closed and 35 merged. The far-western region has the lowest closures at 25. Sarlahi holds the unenviable position among the districts with 208 schools being closed and eight going for merger.

The figures exceed a government target for merger by more than five times. Concerned by the dwindling enrolments, the government has prioritised the merger plan to cut the state expenditure. It had set the target to merge 200 schools after the numbers of students declined by over 300,000 in just two years.

According to the Economic Survey 2014, the number of students has been on decline every year since 2012. While 7.44 million students were enrolled into grades 1-10 in the academic year 2012, which decreased by 166,202 to around 7.27 million in 2013, the survey shows. The number dipped further by 150,882 to 7.12 million last year.

According to Yogendra Prasad Baral, deputy director at the DoE, over two-thirds of the closed schools were the fake institutions which existed only on papers.

“The report includes only those schools which were either merged or closed till last academic session,” said Baral, adding that the DoE had asked all the District Education Offices to report on the schools to be closed or merged in the new academic session, which is likely to run into hundreds.

The DoE has also endorsed a directive setting criteria for the merger. It stipulates that any two or more schools lacking the minimum required enrolment can be merged or set up a new school or even shut down altogether if there are no merger options. However, the schools to be merged must be within the walking distance of 15 minutes.

Public School Merger/Closure

Total merged and closed     1,070

Highest in Sarlahi     216

In Valley     35

Students declined

in last two years    317,084

Published: 14-04-2015 09:15

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