There’s only one secondary school in remote Chumnubri, and it has leaking roofs and few teachersBesides Chumnubri’s students, children from Uhiya, Gumda, Kashigaun and Kerauja of Dharche Rural Municipality also study at the school.
If Karmal Lama, a sixth grader, wants to go to school, he has to walk for an entire day. Lama is a resident of Chumchet, a remote village where there are no motorable roads. And his school, Buddha Secondary School, is in Sirdibas—a distance of almost 20km.
Karmal’s friend Sonam Lama, of Chhekampar, has to walk more. It takes him two days to reach the school. In order to not miss school, both the boys live in a hostel in the school, away from home.
Prakash Ghimire, the headmaster of the school, says that to ensure students come to school, they have managed to get a hostel facility up and running. “We have in total 357 students in the school. Among them, 189 are studying under scholarship quota,” said Ghimire.
In remote Chumnubri Rural Municipality, Buddha Secondary School is the only secondary school for all seven wards. But it’s not only Chumnubri students who study at Buddha Secondary School. Children from Uhiya, Gumda, Kashigaun and Kerauja of Dharche Rural Municipality also come all the way to Chumnubri to study.
Despite the crucial role this one school plays in the lives of hundreds of children, the school lies in a dilapidated condition post the earthquakes of 2015, which destroyed much of the school’s infrastructure.
“The roofs of the building don’t hold the rain these days. Water drips from the leaking roof during rainfall. But we don’t have sufficient funds to repair the school building,” said Ghimire.
Initially after the quakes, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu had pledged it would reconstruct 10 school buildings, including the building of Buddha Secondary School. But four years on, the embassy is yet to take any initiatives of reconstruction. Ghimire said, “The embassy has not shown interest to construct the school building on time as the rural municipality lies at geographically difficult terrain.”
Bishnu Prasad Mishra, chief at the District Project Implementation Unit Office of the National Reconstruction Authority, said that Japanese governmental agency JICA has proposed to construct more school buildings in the district. But nothing has become certain yet. “Because of that, we have not been able to grant permission to other donor agencies, as we have already provided recommendations to a certain organisation,” said Mishra.
Fourteen years ago, students from the northern part of Gorkha had to go to Arughat, Gorkha Bazaar and Kathmandu to receive higher education. But, after Buddha Secondary School, which was established 43 years ago, started secondary level classes 13 years ago, locals didn’t have to worry about sending their children far away to receive secondary level education.
But now the school lies in a sorry state. Besides it’s poor infrastructure, the school also lacks other basic facilities, like a library and science and computer lab facilities. The school also does not have a single permanent teacher’s post at the secondary level, and is being run by four teachers appointed under relief quota.