KATHMANDU: Severe disruption in educational services in the affected areas by the earthquakes is likely to impact enrollment and attendance, leading to an increase in the number of children out of school, according to the key findings of Post Disaster Needs Assessment published by the National Planning Commission on Tuesday.
The report said that it may also lead to an increase in the number of children with disabilities or significant injuries who may be unable to access education.
It further said that with an increase in the demand for additional labour, both at home and in the market, some children, particularly in the higher grades, may become less regular or drop out eventually.
“There may be a decrease in their motivation to learn. It is, therefore, expected that the affected schools might experience a decline in the learning outcomes of children in the short to medium term,” said the report.
It said that though Nepal has achieved gender parity for school enrollment at the primary school level, girls still lag behind at the secondary and tertiary education levels.
As families struggle to cope with the impact of the earthquake, there is an added risk of girls being pulled out of school to help in productive activities or early marriages.
“Sustained monitoring of school attendance rates for boys and girls will be critical for taking corrective measures to stem the incidence of children dropping out of school,” report said.
According to the report, the total damage and losses in the education sector is estimated at Rs 31.3 billion while Rs 39.70 billion is estimated for recovery and reconstruction — Rs 5.18 billion for recovery activities and Rs 34.5 billion for reconstruction activities. The report states that more than 80 per cent of this has occurred in the 14 most-affected districts.
The damage to educational infrastructure and physical assets are estimated at Rs 28 billion and the losses are pegged at Rs 3.2 billion. Public schools accounted for 92 per cent of the total damage and losses. Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and school education subsectors accounted for 90.2 per cent of the total damage and losses, followed by 7.9 per cent in higher education and 1.6 per cent in Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutes.
Community learning centres and public libraries were also affected in these areas.
The government is going to focus on the resumption of education services through establishment of temporary/transitional learning spaces and provision of textbooks/learning materials, debris removal, detailed structural assessments of facilities, and development of appropriate designs, prototypes and institutional arrangements for reconstruction along with psychosocial support and training in short term.
The report said that the medium term needs will be dominated by the reconstruction and retrofitting of school/college buildings and allied structures to build back better while in the long run, the focus will be on developing a nationwide policy and implementation plan for education safety across the country.
Nepal is set to host the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction 2015 on June 25 to seek support for recovery efforts.