Nepal | May 23, 2019

Textbook crisis in far-west remote villages

Himalayan News Service

BAJURA: Manoj Rokaya of Mahila VDC returned his village with a set of Grade X textbooks from the district headquarters Martadi in Humla. It was not easy for him; he had made a weeklong walk to get the textbooks, as he could not get them in his locality. Martadi is three days walk from his village.

Like Manoj, many students in the district are reeling under textbook crisis. Students of Madena, Shreenagar, Kalika, Jai and Mahila among other VDCs had no option than to walk to Martadi to get the textbooks.

The new academic session started from mid-February in Humla, but students of some schools are yet to get textbooks in the district.

Similarly, students of Mugu’s Halyang, Sukadick, Nathruk, Shreekot among other VDCs are also compelled to walk for two to three days to Humla for books. “Though the government announced redistribution of textbooks, many have not got the books yet,” said Bishnu Bista of Gotri.

According to sources, students of Humla’s Shreenagar area, Mugu’s Shreekot and as many as 11 northern VDCs of Bajura have been facing a hard time due to shortage of textbooks. As many as 103 schools of Bajura VDCs have been hit hard due to textbook crunch.

“Around 10 to 12 students of those VDCs buy books from my book store,” said Nrip Khati, who owns Delta Store in Martadi. Though Janak Education Materials Centre has opened a depot in each district, no initiative has been taken to supply the books to rural areas.

Booksellers of Kolti area said they did not take books from the JEMC, as it did not waive transportation charges.

JEMC had offered nine per cent commission on selling its textbooks, but it was negligible margin for the booksellers of remote areas, as they have to spend lot of money to transport them, said book shop owners.

Kashi Chandra Rokaya, who came to Bajura to sell books on behalf of JEMC, said that he would sell the books as per the directives from the centre. Meanwhile, District Education Officer Ramesh Poudel said that their responsibility was to transfer budget to schools’ account whereas it was JEMC’s responsibility to supply books to the schools. We are trying our best to make the books available in the region, he said.

A version of this article appears in print on June 27, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.

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