A local unit in Syangja initiates a campaign to reform education in community schoolsUnder the campaign, chief of the rural municipality is listening to students’ grievances.
In a bid to reform the education sector, Phedikhola Rural Municipality in Syangja district has initiated a campaign in various community schools.
Under the campaign, the chief of the rural municipality listens to complaints the students have and directs the subordinate offices to solve them. The rural municipality has 31 schools and the chief of the municipality, Ghanshyam Subedi, aims to reach out to every student.
Recently Subedi reached Janapriya Secondary School in Ward No. 3 to take stock of the school’s situation. On that day, Janapriya Secondary School also hosted students from Deurali Basic School, Janamukhi Basic School and Sharada Ramaniyadanda Basic School to be a part of the programme.
During the programme, a majority of students complained of lack of safe drinking water and healthy food options on the school premises. Sharmila Ranabhat, a 9th grader of Janapriya Secondary School, said that the school canteen serves unhealthy, unhygienic food and water but for lack of better options students such as herself have been eating at the canteen. “Our classroom is near the toilet. It’s difficult to study because there’s always a foul smell emitting from the toilet,” she said.
Bijaya Adhikari, another 9th grader, highlighted the need to have separate toilets from junior and senior students in the schools. “Small children need to use the toilet more often. We have one common toilet and the infrastructure is not suitable for young children.”
Sanjita Adhikari, an 11th grader, said that the school has also failed to manage sanitary pads for girl students. She said, “We need sanitary pads but we have to wait for hours before we can get one from the school facility.”
Som Bahadur Mijar, a grade 3 student of Deurali Basic School, lamented about the lack of extracurricular activities such as sports in his school. “Our school does not have any extracurricular activities. It’s so dull,” he said.
Ram Poudel, the headmaster of Janapriya Secondary School, said that the campaign initiated by the rural municipality has helped bring students’ problems to the fore. “The students hesitate to talk about such issues with the school administration. But they feel comfortable sharing their problems with the chief so we support this campaign wholeheartedly,” he said.
Most of the representatives of the school management committees said that the schools don’t have the necessary budget required to upgrade the schools. Tulasi Poudel, a teacher at Sitala Secondary School, said that a majority of schools do not have the budget to upscale their infrastructures. “The local unit should help community schools to develop infrastructures.”
In the current fiscal year, the rural municipality has allocated 38 percent of the total budget from the rural municipality to the education sector. The municipality has allocated Rs 500,000 for this campaign alone.
After listening to the students share their grievances, Subedi directed the Ward Education Committee to shut down the school canteens if the canteen operators fail to reform their ways within two weeks. “The rural municipal office will immediately allocate the necessary budget to provide safe drinking water and healthy food to the students,” he said. Subedi also urged the teachers to adopt a child-friendly teaching-learning process for clarity and ease of reading and writing.