Schools on the verge of closureAs the country confronts a fuel crisis, private institutions from school to university level said they would be forced to shut down their services if the situation does not improve immediately.
As the country confronts a fuel crisis, private institutions from school to university level said they would be forced to shut down their services if the situation does not improve immediately.
Association of Private Educational Institutions of Nepal (Apein), an umbrella body of private schools and colleges, on Monday asked the government to supply fuel to the education sector recognising it as an essential service sector. Apein said in a statement that all the private academic institutions in the Valley would be shut at least till mid-November if fuel supply does not improve immediately. In the lack of cooking gas and diesel, schools and colleges are facing problems in ferrying students and feeding those in hostel.
Thousands of students depend on school buses while an equal number of them are in hostel. At least 1 million students from pre-primary to university level at 4,000 academic institutions in the Valley will be barred from study if the schools are closed.
According to Karna Bahadur Shahi, chairman of the Apein steering committee, schools outside the Valley will take their call after assessing the situation of their respective areas. Around a dozen associations of private schools and colleges affiliated to various universities have been organised under Apein.
“This is turning to be the worst academic year in the history of Nepal,” said Shahi. “The fuel shortage and month-long protests are affecting the academic calendar that was already offset by the devastating earthquake.”
Students missed 26 school days after the April 25 quake.
The government and Apein had agreed to adjust the calendar by cutting on vacation and festival holidays.
However, the ongoing protests in the Tarai, coupled with the fuel shortage resulting from the border obstruction, have hindered the smooth running of classes.
“The government and the political parties have recognised school as the zone of peace. They have to translate their commitment into action,” said Prashansa Dahal, a tenth grader from Valley View School in Baneshwor.
Continued agitation in the Tarai has shut academic institutions in the plains for over 70 days. Out of the 220 school days, institutions in the southern belt have already missed more than 75 days to the ongoing political crisis. Over 3 million students from 20,000 academic students have suffered due to the Tarai unrest.
Apein has urged all the protesting parties and the government to create an environment for running academic institutions across the country. Shahi said they have informed the Home and Education ministries about the matter.