Hunt for Yarshagumba delays academic session in Bajhang schools

BAJHANG: Three months have elapsed since the beginning of the new academic session. But, schools in the mountainous areas of Bajhang are just beginning to admit students for the new session.

People from five Development Committees of the district go to collect yarshagumba in mid-April and return only in the last week of June every year. Students missed classes for almost three months as they accompanied their guardians to collect the medicinal herb, said teachers.

“The schools in the area remained closed for the last there months,” said Gorakh Bahadur Bohara, a teacher at Kanda Lower Secondary School. There are some three-dozen primary, lower secondary and secondary schools in Kanda, Surma, Daulichaur, Lekgaun and Dahabagar VDCs that had just started enrolling students for the new academic session, he added. “As students have just returned after collecting yarshagumba, we have begun to enroll them for the new session,” Bohara said. Regular classes will be conducted from mid-July.

Locals set out in their search for yashagumba, as the medicinal herb is the only source of income for them. “We go to collect yarshagumba to meet our expenses round the year. We use the money to buy food, clothes and books and educational materials for our children,” said Ram Bohara, a resident of Surma.

Poverty-struck guardians are more concerned about earning enough to make ends meet rather than sending their wards to school, a teacher said. “Though the teachers are always ready to teach, it is the absence of students that forces the schools to remain shut,” said Ramesh Singh Thapa, District Education Officer. The DEO has directed the schools in the area to conduct classes during the monsoon holidays, DEO Thapa said.