A signboard at Bal Basic School at Thati village of Sandhikharka reads grade two and three for a single classroom. Laxman Ghimire/Republica
ARGHAKHANCHI, Sept 28 : Bal Basic School of Thati village in Sandhikharka Municipality of Arghakhanchi is ‘a school for the poor’. Well-off families hardly send their children to this school which has no proper classrooms, let alone advanced facilities.
“Due to the lack of classrooms, we have to make all children share a common room. For instance, students of grade one and two study in the same classroom,” said Bishnu Prasad Khanal, principal of the school.
Mixing students of different grades in a single room has resulted in poor academic performance of the children. The situation makes neither teachers, nor students serious about studies.
Lack of classroom is not the only major problem the school is facing. There are not enough number of teachers and staff either.
“We have three permanent teachers and one in relief quota. One teacher is assigned to look after the nursery level,” Khanal said.
Even though the number of students is not that large, it necessitates subject teachers in each grade. However, the school does not have that kind of arrangement. Khanal informed that the teachers teach any subject as per the need.
“We cannot manage standard teaching method. We don’t have rich resources,” he said.
Teachers have repeatedly complained of this problem. They have urged Khanal to talk to the concerned department and get additional number of teachers at the school. Similarly, they often warn to quit job as the school doesn’t have even the required number of classrooms.
“Teachers are not happy to work here. If they find a little better opportunity they will surely quit,” Khanal reported.
“With our internal resources, we cannot improve the situation. We are helpless,” he lamented. He added that mostly children from the marginalized communities have been admitted to the school. They are too poor to support the school for infrastructural or other kinds of development. On the other hand, the local authority has not given any priority to the school, he complained.
The problem is not limited to Sandhikharka Municipality. The situation of Birbhadra Basic School at Dhikura village of Bhumikasthan Municipality is even worse.
This school, which also has up to grade five, runs classes for students of grade one to three in a single room. Children hardly understand anything due to the mess. According to Principal Padam Mani Chudali, there is no proper office room.
“We do not have a well managed office room. Our students of different grades study in a single classroom,” he lamented.
The school which has maximum number of nursery kids does not offer even basic facility for the young ones. The administration says there are no resources.
“To look after little kids, we need a separate helper. But we don’t have that privilege. If you talk about classroom, we are forced to squeeze almost all students in a single class,” Chudali said.
These two schools are just examples of how schools are operating in the district. Except for a few community schools, most of them are suffering in the lack of resources, infrastructures.
Meanwhile, a former school teacher in the district Sahayog BC pointed out to the need of pressurizing the local bodies. Until and unless the local bodies are put under pressure, community schools are not going to improve, he noted.
“Earlier, there was a single government which would look after the schools across the country. Now, we have federal and local governments as well. They have the power, they have the budget,” he said. “Local bodies must take care of all such local affairs,” he added.
Meanwhile, Maniraj Parajuli, chief of the Education Development and Coordination Unit of the district stated that it will take time to fill the gap created by the restructuring of the country. The earlier set-up has crumbled while the new system has not yet become effective, he said.
“We are trying to make things smooth, but the country has become federal and gaps have surfaced in different sectors,” he said.
There are a total of 388 schools in the district. Similarly, it has six campuses, 10 madarasas, two technical schools and two model schools. One Gurukul and one Vidhyapeeth are also in operation. There is a quota of 1,500 teachers in the district.