Kathmandu, August 2
Schools damaged in the devastating earthquakes throughout the country last year have yet to be rebuilt.
This has deprived students of a safe learning environment.
Hem Chandra Mahato, principal, Bhanu Secondary School, popularly known as Durbar High School, at Ranipokhari today said students had to suffer due to lack of a new school building.
“We were planning to run classes using multimedia and build a library, but we have not been able to execute our plan due to lack of building,” he explained.
Radha Krishna Mahat, principal, Namuna Machhindra Higher Secondary School, said running classes in Temporary Learning Centres was difficult. “Due to delay in reconstruction, teaching-learning environment is deteriorating,” he added.
Ram Hada, principal of Shree Padma Higher Secondary School in Bhaktapur, urged the government to begin school reconstruction within this year. “The school has 2,250 students. However, both the students and teachers are suffering due to lack of building.”
Project Implementation Unit under Ministry of Education also admitted that the school reconstruction works were being delayed.
Ima Narayan Shrestha, chief, PIU, said they were unable to expedite school reconstruction due to lack of sufficient budget. The government had estimated a cost of Rs 186 billion to reconstruct more than 8,000 schools destroyed in the earthquakes.
However, the government has not been able to manage the budget. The education ministry has thus decided to begin reconstruction of only 20 per cent schools in the first year.
Shrestha said PIU had called for tender for reconstruction of 62 schools in the last fiscal and tender process for 42 schools were in the final stages. Similarly, within this fiscal year, the PIU has targeted to reconstruct around 1,500 schools.
“The government has provided Rs 5 billion for school reconstruction through National Reconstruction Authority.
The procedure to mobilise this fund through fast track system would be finalised soon,” he said, adding, “Through this budget we can start reconstruction of 1,000 schools in 14 worst affected districts within this fiscal.”
JICA and ADB have decided to reconstruct schools in Bhaktapur and Kathmandu.
A version of this article appears in print on August 03, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.