DHADING, Jan 22: Sonisha Chepang walked two hours from her home to reach Sitamai Primary School of Rorang rural municipality-2. However, at 11:30 AM, there were neither teachers nor students. Some of students who had arrived were either basking in the Sun or playing. After the earthquake of April 25, 2015 destroyed their two room classroom, students have been studying under the open sky. However, with all the walks that students commute to study, neither students nor the teachers arrive on time.
Children walk between two to three hours every day and await teachers, who seldom arrive. Normally a school runs from 10 AM to 4 PM. However, children of the school hold their books and wait for the teacher. The school itself lacks resources. There are neither desks, benches, blackboards, clean drinking water, furniture, recreational nor sports equipments. Schools remain shut when there’s rainfall or when there’s heavy wind. Adjacent to the damaged school building, various organizations have constructed a latrine.
The school’s record shows that there are 35 students, 34 of whom are Chepangs, and one is Bhujel. However, daily attendance shows that hardly 11 children come to school every day. Sonisha, who walked for two hours to study, returned without attending a class on Sunday.
Forget studies, in the absence of teachers, there is nobody to look after the children.”Citing personal works, teachers seldom come to school. We return home without studying,” Sonisha said. The government has appointed a principal and a teacher at the school. Two teachers were added from personal funding.
The school starts in April. A month later, students are given two months of holiday due to rainy season. Couple of months later, holiday for Dashai, Tihar and winter vacations starts. In between, there seldom is class.
Without teachers, many students have dropped out of school and with no one to look after their children; parents seldom send them to school. “Children are forced to study in the open and when they go to attend classes, teachers don’t come,” Hem Bahadur Chepang, Sonisha’s father said. “While I wanted to study, I couldn’t. My children are following the same fate.”
The Chepang community lives in Rorang and Gajuri rural municipality of Dhading.