Students writing their exams at the dilapidated building of Bal Bidya Secondary School in Pyuthan Municipality on Friday. (Shamsher Bikram GC/Republica)
PYUTHAN, March 16: Imagining a classroom without roof is weird. However, this is how the classes have been running at Bal Bidya Secondary School of Pyuthan Municipality after the wind and storm on Thursday night blew off the roof. As their final examination is underway, students have no choice but to be punctual in such classrooms. They say that they have no choice than to sit for exams in the dilapidated building.
Heavy winds blew away the corrugated sheets of the school some 100 meters away. Had it happened during the daytime instead of night, it could have injured or even killed people, said a teacher of the school. According to the school principal Keshu Giri, the roof had landed on a roadside and it could have triggered accident had it not fallen there at night.
“Actually, such happenings are not new here. Many houses are made of mud and stone just like our school and have corrugated sheets as the roof. In this season, when heavy winds blow, such roofs are carried away,” he said. He added that there have been instances of cattle and humans being injured due to such incidents.
“It is a matter of luck that the storm did not come during daytime. Even our students could have been hit, or any others on the way could have been injured,” he said.
Giri lamented that the school does not have enough resources to build strong and comfortable building. Even the office room is not attractive, he said.
“The budget released to us is hardly enough for regular expenses here. If we add extra teacher, we need to pay from our own source. So, we have very limited work force here. We have not been able to give a conducive environment for students,” he said.
Stating that it might take some time for the school to bring repair the rooms, Giri said that the students have been forced to compromise.
The school has no more than two rooms apart from the office and store room. Due to the lack of space, students are squeezed and taught in the same classes. Sometimes, they study under the open sky.
“We are trying to add few more rooms. But it is taking time,” Giri said. “Currently, we are keeping students even at store room since it is examination time,” he added. After this final examination, students are upgraded. It is considered a very important moment for any student. However, this is a remote part of the district and such a sorry state of school is not limited to this one. Giri stated that a number of schools here are deprived of basic infrastructures.
“Many schools are on the verge of closure. Some lack students, some lack teachers and in many schools there is resource crunch,” he noted. “The district education office had talked of merging schools. Some were merged as well. But then many other community schools are still running in a very pathetic condition,” he added.
Meanwhile, students at his school stated that they feel unsafe in such poor classrooms. Not only they have to brave rain, cold or scorching heat during school hours, even stray cattle freely roam around. There are no facilities like drinking water and toilets.
“We are not in a condition to ensure all such things. Even students understand that,” Giri claimed.
According to a school teacher, Ramesh Giri, ‘managing’ with whatever is available is the only option for the teachers and the students. “Those who can afford to go to private schools are doing so,” he added.
“Such schools have been neglected both by the government and the community. When there is not even minimum facility, you cannot talk of providing good education. But here, things are going on just like this for years,” Ramesh said.
Despite lacking infrastructure, the school has planned to introduce some classes under technical education. That will be very beneficial for students and they will pay minimum fees for it as well, Ramesh stated. “Students who study here are exclusively from the poor class. And for them the dream of higher education is farfetched. They are happier if they learn a skill which fetches them money instantly. We are going to introduce technical classes with affiliation from CTEVT,” he added.