Mechi-Koshi educational strike affects 1.1m students

Himalayan News Service

Biratnagar, January 27:

Nearly 1.1 million students have been affected due to the Maoist-called two-week-long educational strike in the Mechi-Koshi region, it was informed at a programme organised by the Press Chautari-Morang in Biratnagar today.

Stating that frequent bandhs and sanctions have severely affected the education sector, representatives of the Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation Nepal (PABSON) and National-PABSON said thousands of students had headed for India.

Though the Maoists have been saying that the strike was called in the urban areas only, schools and colleges of rural areas have also been affected.

Demanding that its 23-point demand be met, the ANNISU-R Mechi-Kosi chapter had called the strike on January 18. Sent-up exams were postponed due to the strike. Shaligram Dahal, district chairman, N-PABSON, said the students were under immense psychological pressure, adding nearly 800 private schools and hundreds of government schools had been closed for the last 10 days. The ANNISU-R has stated that the strike would be called off if the government promised to meet some of their demands.

PABSON district chairman, Tika Puri, said they had stopped asking the Maoists to withdraw the strike after the latter paid no heed to their request. Chudaraj Bhattarai of the Guardians’ Association said the students were bearing the brunt of the conflict.

While a student of the Holyland Boarding School, Richa Bhattarai, demanded that a peaceful learning environment be ensured for the students, representatives of students’ unions said frequent educational strikes were hitting the education sector hard.