Public schools facing existential crisis

Bhaktapur, January 7

Many public schools in Kathmandu Valley are going through mergers. Nearly 25 primary public schools in Bhaktapur are facing existential crisis due to lack of students and lack of necessary physical structure.

The local residents, however, are not satisfied with the schools opting for mergers.

They said the government should give priority to the development of public schools as they played an instrumental role in shaping the future of students from poor financial backgrounds.

“Merging public schools is not the solution to keep them running,” said Gyan Sagar Prajapati, vice-principal at Bagiswori Higher Secondary School in Chyamasing, Bhaktapur. He said big schools should support small ones.

“Government schools have been established to make education accessible to students from poor families. If they begin to merge one after another, there will be no community school left in a decade,” said Prajapati.

He claimed merging schools meant the end of community schools and establishment of more private schools, which students from poor families cannot afford. He also informed that his school was helping other community schools.

“The Chorcha-based Siddhi Sharada Primary School in Bhaktapur, established in 1971, had no option but to go for a merger due to lack of students. However, with the help of our school and an NGO, the school was re-established in Bhramayani. It now has more than 114 students,” said Prajapati.

According to in-charge at Siddhi Sharada School, Hari Krishna Bhaila, the school earlier had only 50 students. “The students were unwilling to attend classes as we did not have a playground.

Now that the school has been moved to Bhramayani, students are happy with the fresh environment, new teachers and adequate physical infrastructure,” said Bhaila.

According to Prajapati, the District Education Office, Bhaktapur had earlier sent a letter seeking merger of Siddhi School with Bageshwori School. “Instead of merging the school, we sought support for the school. Now the school is attracting a lot of students,” said Prajapati.