A CLARION CALL

Mar 9, 2018-Purnima and I were staring at clouds swinging our feet lazily, sniffing the branches of the Camphor tree. 

“Bibhuti, don’t you miss your friends from the old school?” Purnima suddenly asked. 

I was taken aback. 

“How could I forget them, Purnima!” I replied, “Suhishan had texted me only yesterday to inform me that they had already taken their pre-SEE.” 

Both of us lay silent. The scorching sun’s heat had already waned. Holi was over and we were there, swinging our legs, laying on the parapet wall of our school roof that was decorated naturally by the Camphor and Blackberry trees, talking about clouds and stars and life and death. We were talking about anything but our SEE, the Iron Gate, which was now less than 20 days away. 

............

My dad’s Sarkari Eeskool Katha (government school’s stories) used to be my fairy tales growing up. I remember dad saying, “During our SLC, back in 2048 BS, we flipped the pages of our books and to our utter dismay, most of the courses had barely been taught.” My dad was good at spinning tales and I never believed him. How could a school, I used to wonder, not complete its course given how important the 10th grade was?

All these years later, kings have been overthrown, a civil war was started and ended, wanton capitalism is running riot and consumerism is on the verge of consuming all common sense, and yet, our government schools remain the same old Sarkari Eeskool.

My school, that stands in the heart of Kathmandu, the capital city with a history and legacy of its own, too is not too different from its fellow government schools. We, the students, are counting days to our SEE and the teachers, specially engineering teachers, continue to take their jobs for granted! 

My principal, and every other teacher for that matter, at every major school function, does not forget to reiterate that “Shree Padma Kanya Vidyashram runs civil engineering classes for grade nine and 10.” However, when it comes to their tasks, there really isn’t much to brag about. 

Sadly, this cannot solely be blamed on our school management or our teachers. The government is equally responsible for this. There are so many formalities that a government school has to go through to even recruit a single teacher. This process, oftentimes, can even stretch out for a quarter of the year. This year, our civil engineering classes began running smoothly only from Bhadra. 

Majority of the government school students are patently failing to obtain good marks in the then SLC and now SEE because of the little attention the students receive. Government schools have the most primitive of infrastructures. And if these schools are not run properly, what future 

can you expect from the nation? This is a question that must be raised 

seriously. 

Dear government schools, its administrators and staff, when we already have so much at our disposal, why not be honest to oneself and one’s duty? Duty is not only realised while writing Nepali essays in SEE or correcting the essays written on SEE answer sheets, it must be realised and executed on a day-to-day basis. Only then will our nation prosper; it is time we woke up, much has already been squandered.   

- Bibhuti Shah

Grade 10

Shree Padma Kanya Vidyashram

Published: 09-03-2018 08:29

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