LAMJUNG, Oct 16: Chandrakant Ghimire, a teacher of Marsyangdi Rural Municipality, Bahundanda, wakes up early in the morning and takes his meal before eight. After a two-hour walk through the difficult track, he finally reaches the school in Chinkhola village where he has been teaching for years. He leaves for the school with much enthusiasm, but that evaporates once he reaches the school.
This village which earns millions of rupees by selling cardamom is commonly recognized as 'alaichigaun' (cardamom village). It might be hard for some to believe that a school which lies nearby the village has only four students. The teachers are dissatisfied by the extremely low number of students, but that has not stopped them from doing their job. Naujang Gurung, the other teacher and also the principal of the school feels bad that the locals have ignored the school.
There are altogether four students from grade 1 to 3 in Srijana Primary School (SPS) of Chinkhola-7. As of now, there are three students in class one and there is only one student in class two while there are no students in class three. Even these students are not regular in their classes. As a result, teachers sometimes have to go to the school just to return home without teaching.
As more number of parents started sending their children to boarding schools and even government schools based in city areas, the number of students started decreasing in SPS.
There are altogether 52 households in Chinkhola and most of them send their children to schools based in Khudi Bazaar and the district headquarters, Besisahar. Few of them even send their children to boarding schools of Kathmandu and Pokhara, informed Principal Gurung
"Those who can afford expensive fees admit their children to boarding schools and even those with poor financial status send their children to government schools in the town area as that's what their neighbors do," laments Gurung. In order to attract more students, SPS provides free uniform and lunch for students but still the school has not been able to meet its target.
Most of the people here earn a good income from cardamom business. So, they have started sending their children to well-facilitated schools, according to Ajay Tamang, a local. The building of the school which was damaged during the catastrophic earthquake of 2105 has not yet been repaired.