Schools reopen after five weeksAs schools reopened across the country after a five-week gap, parents were relieved that their children were finally out of home but concerns remain how schools will respond
Many parents accompanied their children to school, and checked the status of the buildings and classrooms. They inquired about the safety measures adopted against a quake. Some people, who were unsure to leave their children in the schools’ care, waited three hours until schools closed for the day to take their children back.
A significant number of students were absent as their parents waited to see the arrangements in place. On one hand the parents want classes to resume so the academic courses are over on time; on the other, the safety of their children is above all.
Both public and private schools that remained closed for 36 days after the devastating earthquake began their academic activities on Sunday. “As tremors occur every day, I am afraid of sending my son alone,” said Jayanti Maskey, mother of a tenth grader at Nobel Academy who was watching a yoga class her son was attending. “I will be accompanying him as long as aftershocks continue.”
According to school operators, parents were more worried than students. A majority of students were cheerful as they had met their friends after a long time.
“We can’t stay home forever,” said Shruti Shrestha, a ninth grader at VS Niketan School in Minbhawan. “I still have fears but I hope they will disappear with time.”
As requested by parents, many schools in Kathmandu conducted classes under tents or on the ground floor. On the first day, they engaged students in recreational activities and counselling. Many organised yoga classes to lessen worries. They also conducted earthquake drills, which school operators said would be incorporated in the academic calendar.
The schools will operate from 9 to 12 in the morning for a week before classes become regular.
According to the estimates of the District Education Offices, 40 percent of the 600,000 students from around 1,400 private and public schools in the Valley were preset on Sunday. “The number will increase gradually from Monday,” said Lachhe Bahadur KC, principal of Suryodaya Boarding School, who is also the chairman of the Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal.
According to the Education Ministry, 26 schooldays were missed due to the closure. It has directed the schools to readjust the academic calendar by cutting on winter and summer vacations, festive holidays and by decreasing the number of internal tests.
Around two million students in the 14 worst-hit districts had remained out of school since the Great Quake struck on April 25.