36th Nat'l Education Day: Nepal Banda is affecting the education of more than 3.2 million studentsAn estimated 3.2 million students, or over 40 percent of the total students from pre-primary to higher secondary level mainly in Tarai districts, have been deprived of education for the last three weeks
An estimated 3.2 million students, or over 40 percent of the total students from pre-primary to higher secondary level mainly in Tarai districts, have been deprived of education for the last three weeks owing to political protests over the delineation of the provinces.
Having been away from schools for weeks in the wake of the devastating April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks, the students are now forced to stay home due the protracted protests. Though over two dozen parties, including those leading the protests, have agreed to recognise schools as zone of peace, they have not implemented the deal. Consequently, over 20,000 schools and colleges have remained closed with students often being at the forefront of the protests.
Following reports that students comprised a significant mass in the protest, the National Human Rights Commission has asked the concerned parties to stop the act and create an environment for students to return to their classes.
Together with 26-day closure in the aftermath of the massive earthquakes, the schools have already lost about 50 days of the total 220 academic days of their calendar due to the current political crisis.
The ‘violent’ protests ensued in various districts in the Hills and Tarai after four parties agreed on six provinces on August 8. While protests in most of the Hill districts have largely subsided after the parties addressed their concerns with the seven-province model, the problem continues unabated in Tarai.
Khagendra Nepal, spokesperson at the Department of Education (DoE), said as it is purely a political issue they are not in a position to intervene in running the schools. “However, we have directed all the District Education Offices to reach out to the protesters to seek their help in resuming the academic institutions,” he said, explaining that their efforts have had positive results as schools in Chitwan and Kailali have resumed. Nepal said the calendar would be adjusted by cutting down holidays and examination days. The DoE is preparing to open the classes between Dashain and Tihar, and during winter vacation this year.
Similarly, the private schools operators have said that they are ready to resume the classes if the government assures them of security. They have been appealing to the protesting parties to honour the past agreement on zone of peace and to be serious about the future of their children.
“Our friends in the Tarai are desperately waiting for the green signal to run the classes,” said Lachhe Bahadur KC, chairman of the Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal (Pabson).
- 3.2 million children from around 20,000 schools and colleges affected
- About 50 days out of 220 school days missed
- DoE planning to adjust calendar by reducing vacations and festive holidays
- Pabson urges to create conducive environment to run the classes