Lack of textbooks in Himalayan districts affect school enrollment campaignDelay in supply of textbooks a yearly occurrence, according to students.
The new academic session in Dolpa schools started on February 13, but students have not joined their classes because they are yet to receive their textbooks.
Tejendra Khatri, a teacher of Devi Basic School in Kandatali, said the school plans to start classes for the new academic session from next week, but the students haven’t got their textbooks yet.
The academic session in Dolpa starts in February—unlike in mid-April in most parts of the country—due to cold weather conditions. During winter, schools in Dolpa and other mountain districts are closed for three months when people in the upper mountain areas migrate to warmer areas to escape cold.
“Most of the students have not even arrived from their winter break. Due to the unavailability of textbooks, we are not sure if they will attend school when we open next week,” said Khatri.
Lakshya Bahadur Sunar, a local teacher, said the vendors who were supposed to supply textbooks in the district have failed to make the delivery.
For the time being, the school has asked the students to bring their old textbooks.
“We can at least begin our classes that way,” Sunar said.
This is not the first incident of delay in textbook delivery in Dolpa. Unavailability of textbooks is a recurrent problem faced by the children in the district at the beginning of every academic session.
“Every year, textbooks delivery is delayed by two to three months,” said Juanmati Bohora, a student at Devi Basic School.
Delay in textbook delivery has also hit the enrolment programme in Dolpa, particularly in the upper mountainous region.
Dil Prasad Rokaya, chief of education, youth and sports section in Thuli Bheri Municipality, said enrolment campaign had failed to produce desired results.
“The weather condition is a big hindrance but even when we bring students to the schools, delay in supply of textbooks becomes another hurdle to keeping them in school,” said Rokaya. “We have been pressurising the concerned vendors to supply the textbooks as soon as possible. A majority of them have assured us to manage textbooks within a week.”
Gopal Shahi, an operator of Saugat Stationary in Jufal, said they had to coordinate with Nepalgunj-based Sajha’s dealer to transport books to Dolpa. “The dealer informed us that the textbooks haven’t arrived in Nepalgunj from the education unit at the central level,” he said.