Darchula school running its classes from tents after last year’s floods and landslidesAround 124 students of Samaiji Basic School have been affected as they do not have proper classrooms.
The building of Samaiji Basic School in Parigaun, Naugad Rural Municipality Ward No. 6 was swept away by floods and landslides on July 30 last year.
Since then, the school has been running classes under makeshift tents on the banks of the Gadigad stream. There are 124 students studying up to grade eight in the school.
“Floods and landslides swept away the school building last year. We had stopped in-person classes because of the pandemic but now since all schools in the district have resumed classes, we couldn’t wait any longer,” said Harak Singh Thagunna, headmaster of the school.
According to him, students and teachers alike are having a hard time studying under makeshift tents, especially during the rainy season.
“The school has resumed its physical classes but we don’t have a building. That’s why we are taking classes under makeshift tents. The villagers helped us build temporary classrooms on the banks of the stream,” said Narendra Singh Thagunna, chairman of the School Management Committee.
“However, we cannot accommodate all the students in temporary classrooms so some classes have to be run under the open sky. This has created a lot of problems,” said Thagunna. “The floods and landslides also swept away toilets and water tanks of the school.”
According to Harak Singh, a teacher at the school, it is dangerous for both students and teachers to be taking classes so close to the stream.
“The stream might get flooded due to continuous rainfall,” said Singh. “Nobody feels safe studying or teaching here.”
Seven classrooms were destroyed after the flooded stream swept away the school building in July last year.
The school administration and management committee said their hands are tied since the authorities concerned have not provided a budget even for constructing temporary huts.
“We requested the authorities concerned time and again to rebuild the school building but the issue has been left unaddressed,” said Thagunna, the school management committee chairman.
Janaki Thagunna, an eighth-grader at the school, says taking classes in temporary tents in the cold and wet months is a challenge.
“Summer months are bearable but once winter sets in, it’s going to be even more difficult to stay in the makeshift classrooms,” she said.
According to the rural municipality office, work on reconstructing the flood-damaged school building and managing furniture for the school is underway. The local unit is awaiting a federal grant for the construction work to begin, said Premraj Joshi, chief at the education unit of the local unit.
“The rural municipality invited a tender of Rs 13.7 million in the third week of August for the reconstruction of the school building and to procure furniture,” Joshi said.
Last year’s floods and landslides had wreaked havoc in the area, killing two persons and destroying dozens of houses, bridges, water mills and micro hydropower projects. Most of the damaged infrastructure is yet to be reconstructed.