They’re the world

The people of Karnali can now heave a sigh of relief, as the government is going to take the responsibility of educating their children. Better late than never. In order to facilitate higher level education in the remote areas of the country, the government has announced free education up to grade ten for the poor kids of the long-neglected Karnali zone. This is the first time the government has allocated a special budget for Karnali to boost the enrolment rate at secondary and higher secondary levels. The scheme, initiated under the government’s 21-point programme, will also provide scholarships of Rs 100 per student per month up to grade five and Rs 150 from grade six to ten. Besides, the schools will now receive a block grant of Rs 500 per student, which automatically means that the money for fee and textbooks would be taken care of by the schools. Karnali is one of the most backward zones of the country wi-th an alarmingly high illiteracy rate. According to the Department of Education, the total enrolment rate at the secondary level in Karnali is a mere 19 per cent.

For once, the government has identified the right place to start its benevolent school education programme. The people living in Jumla, Humla, Dolpa, Mugu and Kalikot districts of Karnali have suffered injustice both at the hands of the rebels and the state for just too long a time. As it is, given the difficult terrain of this region, a large number of ethnics have to struggle hard to meet their daily needs. On top of that, thanks to the ongoing insurgency, a number of youth from the villages have either been killed or maimed or have fled to foreign lands in quest of livelihood. In this context, the government’s initiative is a welcome one and all should assist the concerned agencies and institutions to make it a success. However, it is important to reiterate here that sound education system cannot be established in an atmosphere of violence and any education promotion programme cannot succeed amidst a sense of widespread insecurity. For this, it is imperative that both the warring parties vow to let peace prevail at least in the school premises. They have to respect and abide by the call for making schools a “zone of peace.”