ROLPA, Dec 19: Phoolmaya Pariyar, 14, of Rolpa municipality-9, Phalja 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.
The aforementioned story is not only the case of Phoolmaya. Many students of the districts go through such an odd situation today due to tiring journeys to distant schools. The road to school is not as 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 do they can concentrate on their studies at school due to excessive fatigue nor they get enough time for homework at home as they have to carry out domestic works and prepare for school as the day breaks.
“After rising early in the morning, it’s customaryfor us to perform domestic tasks. We rarely have time to go through books and notes. If we delay to have a meal and leave for school before half-past seven, we can’t reach school,” shares Phoolmaya, an eighth-grader at Nepal Rashtriya Basic School adding, “As days are shorter, 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 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 in Nepal Rashtriya Basic School are forced to walk for about three to five hours. After completing class five in a local school, they don’t have any alternative to walking for hours to school.
Due to the tiresome routine from the day in to day out, the students neither can focus on 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 nearby the schools. But when we look at the condition of our kids while they return from 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.