KATHMANDU, March 19: The students of Purna Hira Secondary School at Bansgadhi Municipality-8 in Bardia district have to endure up to 44 degree Celsius during summer as they study under corrugated zinc sheet roofs due to the lack of proper buildings. Of the total 522 students at the school, 65 per cent are from the Tharu community.
The school at Laxmana of Bansgadhi Municipality-8 in Bardiya was established on January 23, 1988 by Hem Raj Gyawali and Dina Nath Gyawali, who donated two bighas of land (3,237.4 square meters) to the school. After the establishment of the school, it was handed over to the government as a public school.
The school started taking the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations from 2008. However, the government did not give priority to construct the school building except paying salaries to the teachers. The school is up to Grade 10 and has 14 government-paid teachers and three teachers hired by the school management committee.
The school is one of the best schools of Bardiya district in terms of performance and top among the 17 secondary schools including three private schools in Bansgadhi Municipality. All the 65 Grade 10 students who appeared in the SEE exams in 2017 passed the exams, while 93.4 percent passed the SLC exams in 2016. The school has already produced about a dozen experts including doctors and engineers.
There are 83 students in Grade 10 this year. The school has also started to teach in the English medium in Nursery from this year. "It will be gradually implemented in all classes," said Gopal Subedi, principal of the school.
However, the government has neither provided sufficient teachers nor the funds to construct the infrastructures, said Subedi, who is now in Kathmandu to knock the doors of the authorities for funds to construct the school buildings.
"We don't have subject teachers of Mathematics, Computer and Nepali to teach at the secondary level," said Subedi. "The teachers appointed for lower level students but who have Master's or Bachelor's Degree have been teaching secondary level students," he said.
"On the other hand, nine classes including nursery students are running under the corrugated zinc sheets. The temperature during the spring-summer season reaches up to 44 degree Celsius," he added. "Now we will need at least 10 additional rooms as we are planning to run Grade 11 from the coming academic session and Grade 12 next year. We are also planning to teach technical and vocational courses from Grade 9."
So far, the government has only once provided funds to construct a 4-room concrete building about a decade ago. Two rooms of the concreted building have been used for administration. The school has now only nine rooms to run the classes.
The school needs about Rs 1 million to 1.5 million annually to operate smoothly, said Subedi. "We are collecting support and donations from the locals and guardians to maintain the annual costs," he added.
"The municipal authority is yet to provide us the funds for textbooks, stipends and scholarships for students provided by the government in the current academic year though the academic year is ending after 25 days," said Subedi, "Last year, we received these funds from the center on time.
The government provides Rs 390 per Dalit student, Rs 400 for each girl students, Rs 3,000 to 5,000 per disabled student, Rs 12,000 to 16,000 to each conflict victim student and Rs 1,500 to 1,700 as secondary school scholarship. "We received Rs 167,000 for scholarships and Rs 208,000 for textbooks last year," Subedi said. "We are facing a hard time managing funds for running the school as we cannot charge the students any fees because the Constitution of Nepal has ensured free school education," he added.