Private schools’ closure in Ilam affects 18,000 students

Himalayan News Service

Ilam, June 23:

Over 18,000 children studying in 63 private schools have been affected as all private schools in Ilam shut down following threats from the Maoist-affiliated ANNISU-R. Although private schools outside the district headquarters began conducting new academic sessions this year, those in the vicinity of the headquarters had to down shutters this week following the threats. School owners said the student union threatened over the telephone and also sent letters. The students have now started attending government schools, the district education office said. However, it is not possible to accommodate all the students due to lack of proper infrastructure. Those financially sound have shifted their wards to either Kathmandu or Biratnagar or Darjeeling, Kurseong, Sikkim, Mirik and Siliguri in India, a guardian in Ilam, Dipak Poudel, said. Over 1,000 students were enrolled this year in the Adarsha higher secondary school in the district headquarters. “The number of students last year was one hundred,” headmaster of the Bal Mandir primary school, Keshav Khatri told this daily. But it is 400 this year due to the closure of private schools, he said. The government schools are not willing to admit more students from private ones and enrolment was stopped since the middle of May. District education officer, Surya Gautam, said plans are being made to tackle the current situation. A report from Dhankuta said seven boarding schools in rural areas of the district have been closed due to threats from the ANNISU-R.