Siraha, April 17
Farmers of Dandatole, Golbazaar Municipality, in Siraha, have had to spend a large chunk of their income in educating their children.
There are around 156 households in the locality.
Bilat Mahato, 55, of the locality said that he spends more than 50 per cent of his total annual income on his children’s education. His daughter is studying Auxiliary Nursing Midwifery while his son is pursuing a Bachelors’ in Public Health.
People in the locality used to earn their living by selling firewood from forests until two decades ago. However, they shifted to commercial vegetable farming, which was more lucrative.
Another local Rajeshwor Mahato said, “My children study in the cities, where the education quality is better. Much of what I make goes in paying for their school fees and their living expenses. Hopefully my children will have more secure future with education.”
Mahato said that he was growing vegetables on his farm that spreads over 10 kattha land. “I grow all types of seasonal and non-seasonal vegetables in my farm,” he said.
Another local Santa Kumar Mahato said, “All three of my children study in private boarding schools. I don’t want my economic strength to come in the way of their future. I want to make sure that they have the best education that they can so that they can take care of themselves in the future.”
The highly stratified education system in the country that determines the quality of education received by students based on their family income has hit parents with low income the hardest, forcing them to cut on other essential expenses such as better health care.
A version of this article appears in print on April 18, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.