Unicef concerned over disturbancesThe United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has expressed concerns that the future of millions of children in Nepal is being put in jeopardy due to the country’s political turmoil.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has expressed concerns that the future of millions of children in Nepal is being put in jeopardy due to the country’s political turmoil.
“Children, particularly in the southern Tarai plains and the mountain districts in central and central-eastern parts of the country that were hardest hit by the earthquakes earlier this year, have been highly affected by the current situation,” Unicef said in a statement. “One of the most apparent impacts has been on children’s access to education.”
After the April earthquake, students missed 26 days of class. And now, schools are unable to open due to the fuel crisis. The academic calendar of students in the Tarai, in particular, has been entirely disrupted. It has been 76 days since the schools shut down in the Tarai due to the ongoing protest of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha.
Over three million students from 20,000 academic institutions (schools, colleges) across the 22 districts in the plains have suffered due to the prolonged political unrest. They have already lost 35 percent of the time in an academic year of 220 days.
In order to make up for lost teaching and learning hours, many schools in the Tarai are resorting to running classes covertly, the statement said, adding that children are going to school in the early morning hours without wearing school uniforms so as not to be identified as students.
“It is extremely sad that children have no other way than studying ‘undercover’,” it said. “The fact that children are going to schools without wearing uniforms in the current situation also pushes them into further jeopardy of being caught up in disturbances.”
Global experiences have shown that when children are out of school for an extended period of time, there is a risk that they may never come back and drop out of schooling altogether, the UN body noted. It has appealed to all to seriously regard children as Zones of Peace and keep them free from the impact of political tension, unrest and conflict as it has been agreed in Nepal many times earlier.