Power-cut deterrent to SLC preparation

Kathmandu, March 7:

More than 400,000 students across the nation are forced to toil hard in the dark as they prepare to cross the ‘iron gate’ of school education — School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations — amidst 16 hours of daily power outage. SLC exams begin on March 25 this year.

Rishika Bhattarai, an SLC candidate from Asphodel Public School at Ghattekulo, said the students were suffering an unprecedented hurdle in preparing for the exams due the lack of regular power supply.

“I cannot utilise the fresh hours before the dawn to prepare my subjects. I need to be satisfied with candlelight as the power supply is not enough even to recharge backup facilities.”

Astha KC of Dhumbarahi said candlelight was not eye-friendly for studies as it causes headache. “Worse still, there is a constant threat of a fire in case I happen to doze while studying,” she remarked, speculating that she might not get

expected marks in the academic show.

“It’s an irony that students suffer lack of effective lighting facilities in the country, which is considered second richest in the world in water resources,” said Dipesh Shrestha, a Budhanilkantha resident set to appear for the SLC exams. “On the one hand, I cannot study as long as required and on the other, there is a psychological fear that I might get scolded for a possible unsatisfactory result.”

Rabina Bhadel of Tahachal, Karina Shrestha of Kalanki and Saroj Bhandari of Naikap are also the disadvantaged lot who will have to appear in the exams short of preparation. Saroj said his study was limited to what he does in school between 6 am to 6 pm.

Anuradha Ghale, a guardian, said her SLC-appearing kin was not getting a chance to study enough, thanks to the lack of light in the night.

“I spend a lot on candles every month. Bebita often waits for the morning for study,” she said.

Principal CN Gautam, KMC School at Shankhamul, said pressure of Grade X students was growing in the hostel as guardians had hesitated to keep their wards at home owing to the unfavourable study environment.

“As other alternative sources of light are ineffective, we are installing solar plants in the hostel for lighting purpose,” Gautam said.

He said the Finance Minister’s decision to collect five per cent of total fees collected by private educational institutions as Education Service Tax had also spoilt the situation for the students as the Finance Minister had threatened to bar the students from appearing in SLC exams if the schools did not pay the tax.

Asked if the Nepal Electricity Authority had any pleasant surprise for the aspiring students during the SLC, Sher Singh Bhat, chief, Load Despatch Centre of the state electricity supply monopoly, denied any possibility of supplying power for more hours.