Children in juvenile reform centre deprived of schoolingThere is a lack of teachers, textbooks and stationery for the children staying in the reform home.
“The English teacher provided a book to us only in the second class,” said the 15-year-old, adding that the teacher then taught them occasionally. The children at the home were deprived of books, stationery and regular classes.
Jayendu Juvenile Reform Home was established in Duduwa Rural Municipality-6 a year and a half ago with the objective to reform juvenile offenders mainly through education. However, the children—most of whom have been convicted of rape, illegal weapons possession, drug- and human-trafficking—have been deprived of basic rights like education and health.
A few months ago, following repeated complaints by the children at the reform home and human rights activists, the local administration had arranged a four-room building to run the school. A teacher had also been employed; however, the school did not provide textbooks or stationery to the children.
A child, who was studying in grade six in his home district of Rukum, was brought to the reform home around two months ago. He wanted to join the classes rather than stay idle the whole day. He, however, complained that the teacher taught him nothing that was worth learning.“Learning and teaching are not run in accordance with the curriculum. All that our teacher rtaught us was how to write our names. Students from grades 5 to 8 were kept in the same room, and there was only one teacher who taught us all the subjects,” he complained.
Various individuals and organisations working for human rights for juvenile prisoners have been repeatedly raising questions regarding the rights of the children staying there.
Bhola Mahat, the province 5 coordinator of the centre, said that the organisation had submitted a memorandum to the District Administration Office in Banke after the children in the home were found in poor condition.
“The children here [at the juvenile reform home] are deprived of basic rights, like health and education. Reform home is not a prison. The fundamental rights of these children should be protected at any cost,” he demanded.
The local administration has made assurances that it will reform the home and run effective classes for the children staying there. “We have requested the Education Development and Coordination Unit to manage the teachers’ posts and provide textbooks as well as other required stationery. The classes will be run effectively soon,” said Chief District Officer Kumar Bahadur Khadka.
Besides issues of lack of education, juvenile reform homes are also overcrowded—take for example the juvenile reform home situated in Aasmanpur, which has the capacity to accommodate 75 children but is currently accommodating 126 children.
Bimala Kauji, the chief at the reform home, admitted that the children were deprived of a good education and are living in terrible conditions. “We have to arrange beds for the children on the floor, as beds available here are not enough for them. It is quite challenging to manage the children since the reform home has far more children beyond its capacity,” said Kauji.