Schools reopen in districts amidst uncertainty, confusion

- Harihar Singh Rathaur, DHADING
Schools reopen in districts amidst uncertainty, confusion

May 31, 2015-

Despite the general chaos and uncertainty in the wake of the April 25 earthquake and endless series of aftershocks, students and teachers reached the schools on time on Sunday.

The students, who had reached their respective school in the district in their neat uniforms, were, however, not able to enter the severely cracked school buildings despite the scorching midday heat.

Therefore, instead of resuming classes, students and teachers at Sangkosh Higher Secondary School which was built with financial assistance from the Japanese government, engaged in extracurricular activities, including cleaning up the debris of the school in the premises.

The students and teachers also shared their individual earthquake experiences and observed a moment of silence to mourn the death of around 240 teachers and students of the school in the earthquake before ending school session for the day. However, a majority of schools in the district engaged their students in clean up sessions before ending the school day.

While teachers have been focusing on facilitating a child-friendly environment for students after taking stock of the pitiable condition of the school building and its infrastructures, a number of schools are having trouble clearing the debris piled high in its premises after not being able to find workers to remove them. When asked whether the school management will appeal for help to clear the debris of the school building, Baburam Shrestha, a local teachers, said that they feel awkward to float the idea among parents as their own situation was no better.

“We went to the school, played around the grounds while gazing at the cracked school building and structures and recalled fond memories before returning home,” said Subarna Tamang, a ninth grader at Tamangkharka Secondary School at Gumdi.

26 schools out of contact    

In Gorkha, 26 schools from seven VDCs are yet to come in contact with the District Education Office with the report of their present situation including damages they have suffered in the earthquake. While there is a dilemma over operating classes in villages above Sirdibas, the DEO stated that they had not received any word on the situation of the schools there. Likewise, as the staffs from DEO or teachers from the area have not been able to come into contact, they were yet to assess the damage to the schools in the worst quake-hit areas of the district.

As per the DEO, apart from the 26 schools in northern area of the district, 17 schools resumed classes from Sunday onwards. School supervisor Rajendra Dhakal said that they had not been able to contact teachers or parents from Chekampar, Chumchet, Sirdibas, Bihi, Prok, Lho and Samagaun VDCs. The obstruction caused by landslide along the Aarughat-Sirdibas section of Manaslu foot trail had fractured the ability of these VDCs to come into contact.

Pvt schools deemed safe, community schools unsafe

In Kavre, discrepancies have been found in damage assessment of the schools. It has been found that most of the community schools have been given red (high-risk) stickers while private schools have been granted green (safe) stickers. Indicating the level of discrepancies, schools with similar damages have been found granted different stickers.

The DEO has deployed a team of 20 technicians from a private organisation with assistance from Unicef at the coordination of Department of Education. When asked about the discrepancies, District Education Officer Dipendra Gurung expressed ignorance over the matter. “We are sure that the team is fulfilling its duty without anykind of bias and it would not be appropriate for us to comment on the matter as the team has been assessing the damage taking into account a number of variables,” Gurung claimed.

Published: 01-06-2015 07:37

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