Tardy assessments leave Valley’s schools at loss

  • School Building Evaluation
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Tardy assessments leave Valley’s schools at loss

May 26, 2015-

Slow pace of District Education Offices (DEO) technical teams in assessing the earthquake induced damage to school buildings has left the majority of Kathmandu Valley’s schools in dilemma over resuming their classes on May 31 as announced by the government.

Out of the total 1,970 private and public schools in the Valley, technical teams from the DEOs have assessed the status of only 1,085 school buildings until Tuesday. The teams have inspected just 758 out of 1,379 private and public schools in from Kathmandu. The situation is no different in Lalitpur, where only 220 school buildings out of the total 454 have been assessed. Similarly, the technical teams have completed the assessment of only around 40 school buildings among 137 in Bhaktapur.

“We have been waiting for the technical teams for weeks, but no one has arrived so far,” said Shiva Karki, chairperson of Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal (Pabson) Lalitpur Chapter. “We cannot resume classes unless we know about the status of our buildings.”

At the current pace, the school operators claim, it would take more than two weeks to assess to damage school buildings. They have asked the DEOs to increase the number of technical teams to complete the assessment on time.

In the lack of timely assessment, a number of schools are unable to start the construction of makeshift structures to run the classes.

The government officials, however, claim that all the school buildings will be examined by Saturday. “The technical teams have to assess hundreds of school buildings which is a daunting task,” said District Education Officer of Kathmandu Dinesh Kumar Shrestha, urging for help from the private sector to complete the task on time.

According to DEO records, a total of 104 school buildings have been given red stickers in three districts, while more than 200 schools that have sustained partial damage to certain sections of their buildings have been given red stickers and green stickers the undamaged buildings while other got green. Unlike three categories set up in the residential and commercial buildings based on the level of destruction, the Department of Education has directed DEOs to categorise school buildings with either red or green stickers.

The preliminary study of Ministry of Education shows 16,475 classrooms at 6,902 public schools from pre-primary to higher secondary levels across the country have destroyed by the devastating April 25 earthquake and aftershocks.

It also suggests that 7,266 classrooms have major cracks in the walls, 12,613 have sustained minor damage while 1,436 toilets that have been destroyed. The government is yet to carry out a detailed technical study of the buildings in the majority of the school buildings in the earthquake-affected districts.

Published: 27-05-2015 07:09

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