ROLPA, Dec 20: Phoolmaya Pariyar, 14, of Phalja, Rolpa Municipality-9, rushes to school at 7:30 am everyday. She can’t even have her meal properly. After walking for about three hours, she reaches her school.
It’s not only Phoolmaya who does so everyday. Many students of the district go through such an odd situation even today due to tiring journeys to distant schools.
The road to school is not easy as they have to cross difficult cliffs. Transportation facility such as bus service to get to schools is far beyond the imagination for most of the students in Rolpa.
Neither can they concentrate on their studies at school due to excessive fatigue nor do they get enough time for homework at home as they have to carry out domestic chores and prepare for school as the day breaks.
“After rising early in the morning, it’s customary for us to perform the domestic chores. We rarely have time to go through books and notes. If we delay to have a meal and don’t leave for the school before half-past seven, we can’t reach the school on time,” shares Phoolmaya, an eighth-grader at Nepal Rashtriya Basic School, adding, “As days are shorter in the winter, we can’t even finish our homework let alone study additional reading materials.”
When one walks along the roadway, students especially girls are seen combing their hair while they are walking to school. Another student Aajimala Gharti said, “It’s our daily routine.
We are forced to comb our hair for we may get late if we finish all the preparations at home. So, we keep a comb in our bags.” She also said that they have to even wash their face on the way.
They even don’t have an excuse to walk slowly. After staying at school until 4 pm, they rush back to their homes. “We arrive home only at 7 pm when it is dark. Tired and hungry. After having supper, sleepiness haunts. Sometimes, we feel sleepy during our classes too,” shared Mana Kumari Pun.
Like Pun, Pariyar, and Gharti, many other students studying at Nepal Rashtriya Basic School are forced to walk for about three to five hours. After completing class five from a local school, they don’t have any alternative to walking for hours to school.
Due to the tiresome routine day in and day out, the students neither can focus on their studies nor can they pay attention to hygiene. Phoolmaya says, “We have to wait for Saturday even to polish our shoes.”
Parents of the students are also deeply worried about the current state of affairs. “We can’t afford rented room near the school. But when we look at our kids when they return from the school, it makes us feel really bad,” one of the guardians lamented. “Politicians always talk about roads, but our children are struggling hard for education. If these innocent kids are going through severe hardship, what’s the use of that road,” another guardian grumbled.
There are altogether 440 schools in the district. Of them, 62 are secondary schools. More than 67,000 students travel a long distance to reach their schools in the district.