The only academic institute in Ngawal VDC, Ngawal Lower Secondary School
presently has only one student. The school, which runs classes from
grade I to VII, has four teachers. Two of them were new appointments
from last month by teacher service commission.
District Education Officer Tilak Prasad Silwal said that the teachers were appointed in the school as per the demand of school. “However, preparations to depute them to other schools is underway,” Silwal said.
There used to be at least four to five students until last year, but the students had left for Kathmandu and Pokhara for their education. “The kids of rich families are sent to cities whereas in case of underprivileged children, they are funded by various donor agencies,” said Principal Kanchha Prajapati.
Tanka Raj Baral, school inspector of District Education Office Manang, informed that Ngawal is just one of many such schools in Manang. Many other schools had similar figures, especially the ones in higher altitudes. “It is not possible to merge the schools due to long distance between them. However, it is not good to run schools for a single student either,” he said, adding that the Department of Education and the Ministry of Education should take initiatives to address the situation.
Similarly, Khangsar-based Tilicho Lower Secondary School has four students in kindergarten, two students in grade one and one in grade two whereas rest of the classes are unoccupied.
Manang has 27 schools operating in the district — two higher secondary schools, as many secondary schools, nine lower secondary and 14 primary schools.
“There are 607 students studying from grade one to ten in the district,” said Baral. A total of 196 teachers — 192 permanent and four under relief quota — are teaching in these schools. There is also a private school which is run by Snow Land Foundation.
There is 1:3 student-teacher ratio in the district. The government has allocated Rs 9.5 crore for Manang DEO.
DEO Silwal said that English medium schools could be better alternative in the sparsely populated upper belt of the district. A total of 60 students had appeared in the SLC examinations last year, of which only 25 had passed, said the DEO.