Saraswati Basic School taking loans to operate classesThe amount provided by the municipality to run the school is proving to be insufficient.
Three years ago, there were only 57 students at Saraswati Basic School in Shivasatakshi Municipality, Jhapa. But thanks to the school’s quality education, well-facilitated infrastructure and dedicated teachers, it has since managed to attract around 200 students.
The school runs classes from grade one to five.
In the current academic year alone, 82 students from private schools joined the Saraswati Basic, according to Headmaster Ganesh Ghimire. “It’s good to see students preferring our school to other schools in the area. But we are having a hard time just running the school for lack of funds.”
The school management committee has taken a loan of Rs530,000 at 16 percent interest from Kumudini Saving and Credit Cooperative, a local cooperative, said Ghimire. A part of that loan was spent in purchasing a school bus and on running mid-day meal programme.
“We decided to purchase a bus since we had students travelling quite a distance to attend classes here,” said Ghimire.
Krishna Prasad Guragain, one of the teachers at the school, said that the school has been providing mid-day meals to all students.
“We have students coming from Buluchok, Janata Bazaar, Haldarchok, Shivaganj Bazaar and Dhalaunchok, and it is important that we run a bus service and mid-day meal programmes to cater to these students,” Guragain said.
According to the school management committee, the school also added teachers after the rise in the number of students.
“The school has appointed four more teachers from private sources after the number of students increased,” said Guragain.
According to Ghimire, the school is now running low on funds to provide a salary to its four teachers and other non-teaching staff.
“Aside from the teachers' salaries, we have to pay Rs11,000 to the driver, 5,000 to his assistant, and spend around Rs26,000 for fuel and Rs8,000 for bus repair per month,” said Ghimire.
Shivasatakshi Municipality has been providing Rs75,000 annually to operate the school.
“The amount provided by the municipality is insufficient to meet all the school expenses,” said Guragain, adding that the school lacks proper toilets, drinking water facility and playground.
Last year, the ward office had allocated Rs100,000 for the school. For this fiscal year, the office has allocated Rs 150,000 to operate the school, said Ward Chairman Manoj Karki.
“As the school has been completely reformed, I have been helping the school as much as possible,” said Karki. However, Karki agrees that the municipality has been unable to extend much help to the school since most of its budget is spent on the town infrastructure development projects.