Print Edition - 2015-05-29 | Main News
Fears for kids’ safety at school
- Schools reopen on sunday
May 28, 2015-
While the government plans to resume classes from Sunday, parents are not sure whether to send their children to school as aftershocks continue beyond a month after the April 25 earthquake.
While people want classes to resume so that academic courses get over on time, the safety of children is their foremost concern.
Sujita Dahal, parent of a tenth grader at Valley View School in Mid Baneshwor, wants her daughter Prasamsha to complete her courses on time and take the School Leaving Certificate exams next year but is not assured of her safety at school. Even as the school building has got a green sticker (meaning safe), the mother worries that her daughter’s classroom on the second floor could be unsafe should a tremor shake the school. “How will the school take care of children in the event of an aftershock?” questions Dahal. “I want the classes to resume. But I also like to be assured that she is safe at school.”
Parents of children in pre-primary or primary level fear that their children would be more helpless in such an emergency. Rajan Raj Siwakoti, father of a first grader at St Xavier School Jawalakhel, cautiously hopes that the school is equally serious about the safety of his five-year-old daughter. “Since I have not yet seen the condition of the buildings, I am not convinced of sending my child to school right away.” He said he would first visit the building on Sunday to see the conditions there.
Other parents said the schools should invite them for a visit before resuming classes. They urge schools to hold the classes on the ground floor until the aftershocks become less frequent, and engage students in entertainment and experience-sharing before jumping into the curriculum.
The Ministry of Education has directed the schools to readjust the academic calendar by reducing winter and summer vacations, festive holidays and by decreasing the number of internal tests.
Psychologists have similar suggestions. Since teachers are the most trusted seniors for students, they should boost the confidence of children. According to Dr Saroj Prasad Ojha, chief at the Department of Psychiatrics at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, in the initial days teachers should focus on assuring students. He wants teachers to get students to share their experiences. “Both students and teachers should spend at least 15 minutes daily in yoga,” he suggests. People should sleep for at least six hours and drink ample water as it helps to reduce stress. Dr Ojha said life does not return to normal unless academic institutions run in full swing.
School operators say they are serious about the safety of students. Lachhe Bahadur KC, chairman of the Private and Boarding School Organisation Nepal, said schools have been directed not to keep students in risky buildings and try to hold classes on the ground floor to begin with. “We request parents to send their children without any fears,” he said. “Students’ safety is our prime responsibility.”
Around two million students in the 14 worst-hit districts have been out of school since the Great Quake struck.
Published: 29-05-2015 07:26