Arjun Oli/Republica Officials at the regional office of Janak Education Materials Center Ltd., in Nepalgunj, Banke arranging books for dispatching to various districts in the region in April, 2016
BHAIRAHAWA, May 17: Although over a month of the current academic session has passed, more than half of the students in Rupandehi district are deprived of school textbooks.
There are 202,000 students including 123,756 in community schools, 70,361 in private and 8,607 in religious schools in Rupandehi. The school textbooks should have been distributed to the students before April 13 but the students are going to schools without textbooks, said Ekdev Rijal, a teacher at Thutipipal Secondary School. "Teaching-learning process has been affected due to the problem," he added.
Sarita Gupta of Omsatiyamai Rural Municipality has been going to school without textbooks. "I went here and there searching for books but to no avail," said Gupta, a sixth grader at Thutipipal Secondary School. "My two classmates with whom I share bench have complete sets of textbooks. We share the books turn by turn," she added.
Eighth grader Sandip Chamar has a similar story. "I have not done any homework in lack of textbooks. The teachers scold me for not doing my homework," he said. "I don't feel like going to school without the books."
The textbooks for grades 1-5 are available in the district but those for grades 6-10 are not available in sufficient numbers, said Tika Ram Aryal, assistant district education officer.
Among 62,234 students from grades 6-10 at community schools in the district, 35,000 students do not have any textbooks. The textbooks of English, Nepali, Maths and Social Studies, which are published by state-owned Janak Education Materials Center, are not available in the district.
The supply of textbooks to the district has been only 45 percent of the demand, so 55 percent students going to school without textbooks, said Hari Aryal, president of the Nepal Books and Stationary Entrepreneurship Federation.
"This is a recurring problem every year. But the government does not seem to be serious about the problem."