Community schools with less number of students face problem of survival

Merging schools is not the only solution to ensure their survival

Bhaktapur, January 9

Many Schools in the Valley have started merging because they do not have enough students. Especially public and community schools are in a situation wherein two or more of them have to merge for survival.

There are nearly 25 primary schools in Bhaktapur that have less number of students. Due to the low number of students and lack of necessary physical infrastructure, they were on the verge of closure. The only measure that can ensure their survival is to merge with other school/s.

However, locals as well as the Schools Founder Group of Bhaktapur have not come to terms with the idea of merging one community school with another. They want to give continuity to the individual community school to ensure the bright future of the economically deprived sections of society.

“Merging community schools is not the only solution to ensure their survival,” said Gyan Sagar Prajapati, vice-principal of Bagiswori Higher Secondary School, Chyamasingh, Bhaktapur. He said that small schools, whose survival are in question, should be supported by all the big schools of the area instead of merging students and physical infrastructure.

“Government Schools were established to provide education to poor and backward people and give them accessibility to every level of study. If they merge schools one after another, the community school will not last even for a decade.”

Prajapati said merger of schools would spell an end to the community school as more priority would be given to private schools, which are less accessible to people who have difficulty feeding their children every day.

He informed that Bagiswori School has provided an example by helping small community school for its survival by donating teachers, students and required physical infrastructure.

“Siddhi Sharada Primary School in Chorcha, Bhaktapur, established in 1971, had reached a state where it had to be merged. However, with help from an NGO and Bagiswori HSS, it was re-established in Bhramayani, with more than 114 students,” said Prajapati. A building which was used for hosting banquets during festival was used for the school.

The school also received a ground and a new environment.

According to Hari Krishna Bhaila, the in-charge of Siddhi Sharada School, the school had around 50 students, but they were unwilling to come to school due to lack of playground, sunlight and fewer students. After the school was transferred to Bhramayani, the students found a environment, new teachers from Bagiswori HS School and sufficient physical infrastructure,” he informed.

According to VP Prajapati, District Education Office, Bhaktapur had sent a letter regarding the merger of Siddhi School with Bagiswori School, but it refused to do so. “We do not have the authority to encroach on other schools’ private property. So, we requested the DEO to send us a letter for providing support to that school, which would help it to survivewith its own name.”

“To protect the community is our duty, so we permitted Bagiswori School to help Siddhi Sharada School,” informed Arjun Rayamajhi, chief of District Education Office, Bhaktapur. He added, “Teachers have been exchanged and they have been provided training.”