Shut schools raise students’ hackles

KATHMANDU: Niruta Shrestha, a ninth grader at Holy Vision School, is fed up with the persistent closure of her school on one pretext or the other.

She said she had to return from school time and again due to the lack of information about the closure. “The courses remain incomplete in each term,” she complained. “The only way out is taking private tuition.”

Educationist Bidhya Nath Koirala said the frequent shutting down of schools was leading to quality degradation in education and had given rise to immorality among students. He told The Himalayan Times that dialogue, rather than shutting schools, needed to be adopted while pressuring the government. “It is natural to put forth just demands but not at the cost of students,” stressed Koirala.

“What will the children learn out of their exposure to this situation?” he questioned. “There must be a mechanism to assign the students tasks even during a bandh,” he opined.

“The schools need to have a minimum of 220 working days,” said Umesh Shrestha, principal, Little Angeles’ School. “It’s hard to run them even for 180 days in the given situation.”

Shrestha, who is also the president of Higher Secondary Schools’ Association of Nepal, said it had been hard for schools to conduct the first terminal examination as the students were not prepared. He said the Institutional School Teachers’ Union alone had shut schools 12 times. Shrestha said their effort to play the role of a mediator between the agitating teachers and the schools concerned had not been able to prevent the situation.

Geeta Rana, principal, Galaxy Public School, said the government needed to ensure an environment conducive for smooth functioning of the schools and declare them a zone of peace in its true sense. She asked guardians and civil society to act against such unproductive means.