Kaski: With people migrating to towns in significant numbers and enrolling their children in Buddhist monasteries that offer more than education, most government schools in Mustang district are facing a dearth of students.
As a result, while some schools are on the verge of closing down, others have witnessed almost three fold drop in the number of students. Upper Mustang, in particular, is confronting such a situation.
Hari Bahadur KC, principal of Dibyadeep Secondary School, said children in Upper Mustang were being lured to monasteries offering facilities such as hostel and foreign trips besides education free of cost and those residing in Lower Mustang were migrating to towns. As a result, he said, most of the schools here are facing a shortage of students.
“If the situation persists for some more years, all the schools will have no option, but to close,” KC said. His school has 93 students at present, a significant drop from 213 earlier.
Most of the students here are children of wage workers coming from outside the district. Each school has seven to 15 students on an average, who are mostly irregular, to make the situation worse.
Upper Mustang-based Charang Secondary School has not a single student in the lower secondary level while there are 10 to 12 students in each grade in the secondary level.
National Lower Secondary School at Lomanthang has 58 students, down from 65 not long ago.
According to the District Education Office, there are altogether 59 schools—seven secondary, five lower secondary and 47 primary—in the district and most of them have tiny numbers of students.
“Each school has five to six students on an average,” said District Education Officer Bishnu Adhikari. Small population, coupled with an increasing trend of migrating to towns, was to blame for the situation.
Satya Sherchan, a social worker at Lete, said the trend of monasteries luring children with facilities, which government schools lack, had aggravated the situation. He stressed the need for government schools to provide students with necessary facilities.
(Source: The Kathmandu Post: News written and composed by: Shiva Sharma)