EU, UNICEF join hands with govt to support transitional learning

KATHMANDU: The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with the Department of Education, started the construction of 650 transitional learning centres in nine earthquake-affected districts with an aim to help restore education for one million children affected by the 2015 earthquakes.

Amidst a ceremony held at Shreepur Chhatiwan Village Development Committee in Makwanpur district, Head of Cooperation at Delegation of the European Union to Nepal, Andreas Roettger, broke the ground of the first of these transitional learning centres on Sunday.

In a press statement issued today, Roettger  said, "These transitional learning centres will provide a better environment for teaching and learning for students and school teachers,".

"At the same time, it will impart the need for safer learning spaces, and raise awareness in the communities for better disaster preparation in the future,” he added.

The project worth Euro 4 million will assist in constructing transitional learning centres in Gorkha, Kavrepalanchok, Makawanpur, Nuwakot, Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, Rasuwa, Sindhuli and Sindhupalchok, in collaboration with the government and partners, equipping them with educational materials, the Kathmandu-based EU Delegation said in a press statement today.

The learning centres will have corrugated galvanised iron sheet roofing, sturdier walls as well as gender-friendly water and sanitation facilities to bridge the gap for learning spaces for the next couple of years until more permanent structures for schools can be built.

The learning centres, with their early childhood development centres, will also be provided with essential learning materials, and training on psychosocial counselling for 1,300 school teachers, the statement added.

“Following the devastating earthquakes last year that destroyed or severely damaged over 35,000 classrooms, tremendous amount of effort was made to bring children back to school as soon as possible to minimise disruption of their education by establishing temporary learning centres," said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Representative to Nepal.

"In view of the continuing need for vigilance and preparedness for disasters in the country, we need to ensure safe learning spaces for children.The initiation of this new construction project by the Government of Nepal, EU and UNICEF will further enable us to support the national education system to build back better,” he added.