Valley

Ministers ignore wards under educational guardianship

- BINU TIMSINA, BIRATNAGAR

Apr 21, 2019-

The month-long Student Enrolment Campaign launched by the government in mid-April last year had created a buzz in the country after a number of ministers, including Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, undertook the educational guardianship of impoverished children.

Some 700 students were enroled in schools by 370 guardians during the month-long campaign.

But one year down the line, the leaders of Province 1 have forgotten to follow-up on the students whose guardianship they had undertaken. Province 1 Chief Minister Sherdhan Rai and Federal Minister for General Administration Lal Babu Pandit are unaware of the current situation of the students of whom they had assumed responsibility.

Out of the three students Rai had enrolled to nursery grade in Saraswati Secondary School of Morang last year, one has stopped attending school. The school’s Principal Yagyanath Bhattarai said Binod Murmu’s parents have stopped sending him to school citing poor health condition. However, Bhattarai said the real reason why Binod dropped out of school is their poor financial condition.

Binod’s father frequented the school expecting medical assistance from the chief minister for his son, but Rai or his secretariat never responded to any of the school’s attempts to contact them, Bhattarai said.

“The chief minister undertook the educational guardianship of three students but he has not inquired about their study and school performance,” said Bhattarai.

The family of Rojina Khatun, one of the three wards of Rai, said the chief minister had provided two sacks of rice, one set of school uniform, two kg pulses and a few sets of notebooks after undertaking Rojina’s educational responsibility. After that, Rai has not come in contact with the family, they said.

When the Post contacted Rai’s press aide Dhruba Subedi, he said the minister has been unable to visit the school to follow-up on his wards due to his busy schedule, but has been taking stock of the situation by coordinating with local entities.

Similarly, Federal Minister Pandit, who had undertaken the guardianship for Anisha Sardar and Niraj Thakur of BP Primary School in Budhiganga Rural Municipality, Morang, a year ago, has also not followed up on his wards’ progress.

The school Principal Mahesh Khan also shared the same experience as that of Bhattarai. After donating food and stationery during the guardianship drive a year ago, Pandit has not inquired about the students at all, said Khan.

Khan said that Pandit had visited Budhiganga several times to attend programmes in the last year, but he did not make the effort to visit the school to take stock of his wards.

“The minister had distributed school uniform and shoes to 141 students during the time of admission campaign,” said Khan, “He had made tall promises of assuming full responsibility of the students he had admitted, but it seems like he has forgotten about his wards.”

Niraj, one of Pandit’s wards, has recently been enroled to a different school. The school Principal Hari Khatiwada said, “I recently came to learn that Niran is under the guardianship of Pandit, but I have never been approached by the minister or his aides to inquire about Niraj’s studies.”

Rai and Pandit are just some examples of how the leaders, after undertaking the guardianship of impoverished students during the Student Enrolment Campaign last year, have forgotten about their wards in the subsequent year.

However, Province 1 Social Development Minister Jivan Ghimire has a different story than other ministers. Since he undertook guardianship of Sushma Sardar and Anish Sardar of Janata Secondary School in Thahala, Morang, last year, he has been tracking the activities and progress of his wards, according to the school Principal Ram Narayan Bishwash.

He has also been taking progress report of Anish’s study, said Ghimire’s secretary Sushant Banjara.

Published: 21-04-2019 08:17

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