November 23, 2018 04:30 AM NPT
By: Jagat Khadka
BAJHANG, Nov 23: The students of a school in Bajhang district are forced to study on landslide debris, risking to be buried by another landslide. They also have to brave the cold Himalayan winds of November.A huge landslide around three months ago completely destroyed the building of Bishwanath Primary School. It also buried the school ground.
The people living around the school did not allow temporary classrooms in their fields. Left with no other option, the little children are forced to risk their lives to study as their 'classroom' is in the open filed, on top of the landslide debris.The little children are reluctant to go to the school, saying they are afraid of landslides. However, the parents force them to go to the school. As a result, these little ones are forced to study from 10 am to 4 pm, sitting on top of landslide debris with risk of another landslide burying them.“While the teachers teach us, I only wonder about the possibility of us being buried by landslides. That scares me,” said Ritu Rokaya, a fourth grader at the school.
According to her, dry landslides keep taking place in the area although there is no rainfall. “Whenever the teachers notice stones rolling down the hill, they shout and ask us to run. We have to be ready to run any time.”
The school building has not been reconstructed. The students have been deprived of their right to education in a peaceful environment. Ritu, who had secured the first position in the third grade, said she would barely pass the fourth grade's exam as she has not been able to study properly due to fear.
Another fourth grader Rajana Rokaya said she had high hopes of her classroom being reconstructed soon. However, she was disappointed as the authorities concerned did not initiate the reconstruction although winter has already arrived. It would not be possible to study in the open during the extreme cold of winter.
Before the landslide, 19 students were regular in grade four. However, eight students have left already due to the current situation. School teacher Harka Bahadur Rokaya said the school now has only 84 students in total in contrast to 135 as early as three months ago.
The students who have stopped coming to the school are likely to have quit their studies altogether as there is no other school in the area.