Parents reluctant to send their kids back to school

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 10, 2015-

The government’s suggested date for schools to resume classes is only a few days away, but many parents are still reluctant to send their kids to school.

Quite a few parents say that the powerful aftershocks that hit the country after the Great Earthquake on April 25 have rattled them so much they do not want to take chances with their kids being away from them.

Parents, especially those of the younger ones--grade one and below--say they will wait for the powerful jolts to subside before sending their children to school.

The government has said that classes can resume from May 15, and some kindergartens in the Valley have announced that they will be starting classes even earlier than that.

But the parents want to stay put. “We can still feel powerful jolts several times a day and I don’t think it is a good idea to send my daughter back to school yet,” said Bimala Aryal, mother of a five- year-old daughter.

She is of the opinion that children should be kept sound and safe with their parents until things get back to normal.

“I would love to send my daughter back to school. One of the reasons we migrated to Kathmandu from Tanahu was to provide her a good education. But at times like this, safety is our first concern,” added Aryal.

Many parents share Aryal’s fears. Luna Devkota is happy her son’s school, Mills Berry, has declared the school closed until the end of May.

“I went to inspect the school and found that apart from one section of the wall that has crumbled, the rest of the building is all right,” said Devkota. “But I am not going to send my little one to school yet.”

Wendy House School, at Bhatbhateni, opened from Sunday, but the student turnout was very low. Out of the total of 50 students, only 14 turned up.

“We decided to resume classes after engineers inspected our school building and labelled it safe,” said Rosa Shrestha, a teacher at the school. She also said that the few students who had turned up had been confined to the playground and the ground floor and that the children were being kept busy with art and craft activities, dancing and playing.

Many other Montessori schools are getting ready to open on the date set by the government and say that they will get their school buildings inspected by engineers before May 15.

Neera Gautam, founder of Riverdale School in Baneshwor, said that she had her school inspected and was ready to resume classes from Friday.

“We will work very closely with the little ones for the first couple of days so that they can come out of the shock of such a devastating experience before we resume normal classes,” said Gautam.

But many parents want to wait things out. “I checked my kids’ school building, and it looks ok. I could see no cracks inside the building, but I won’t rush to send my children to school, as I think they are safer at home, where they will definitely get better care in case of an emergency,” said  Des Reena Pathak, of Kaushaltar, mother to two children,  a three-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter. Both of them attend the Euro Kids at Kandhaghari.  

The government has said that 16,000 school buildings have been damaged by the earthquake, while 32 teachers and 225 students have lost their lives.

Published: 11-05-2015 08:05

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