While the recent SLC results painting a grim picture of community
schools nationwide, Nabin Aaudhyogik Kadar Bahadur Rita Higher Secondary
School stands apart.
The nation’s first community school, built almost three decades ago, has not only set an example but raised the bar for rest of the schools around the country. Acknowledging its contribution towards education for children specially from economically deprived communities, the school has been felicitated 13 times over the years by the Department of Education, Ministry of Education, and thePresident.
The school built near a squatter settlement in 1976 at the initiative of the locals, had participated in the SLCs since 2007 and has been able to maintain a 100 percent SLC pass-out rate till date. “The majority of students, approximately 70 percent of them attending are residents of squatter settlements who often have a hard time even buying a notebook,” said headmaster Prem Basnet. The economically deprived students aspiring to be like children attending private schools in their neat and clean uniforms are here to achieve their ultimate dream, Basnet claimed.
total of 1,327 students attend classes in the school that operate
classes both in English and Nepali medium and run computer classes from
the fourth grade. The school has been operating civil engineering
classes for students above the ninth standard with a fully-equipped
laboratory. “We had established the laboratory as we do not want to
limit their education due to the absence of practical classes,” Basnet
said. In addition, the school has been imparting management faculty
since the last three years. It also runs free tuition classes in the
morning and evening to help those lagging behind. And about 500
students were denied admissions due to lack of seats this year.
The school also has a large library constructed with the assistance of an international organisation, Room to Read. The organisation has provided 24 computers with wi-fi (wireless fidelity) facilities, giving students access to a whole lot of information to help their academic growth. While the school has seven teachers from private sources, it boasts of a fully-equipped science laboratory where students get to hone their skills on a regular basis. The school also provides free lunch to students for their families cannot afford lunch from home.
While the school owns approximately 1.5 hectares of land, Kadar Bahadur Thapa, chairperson of the school management committee, recalled that they had a hard time retaining the school’s land during previous years. The local authorities and land mafias were engaged in a feud to acquire the land. At present, the school has constructed a commercial complex over the land, earning Rs 120,000 per month.
The school has also made a provision where students, teachers, headmaster, and school management committee inspect each other and work on their weaknesses. The school has also installed digital attendance system for teachers.
“A school established by the landless can also be the best if everyone worked dedicatedly,” said Rayamajhi, overwhelmed by the recent visit of Cambodian Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron to the school on Wednesday.
With an intention to extend facilities to children from other districts as well, the management committee has forwarded a proposal to construct a building, with an estimated cost of Rs 3 million, for hostel facilities. Rayamajhi said that they would work on it soon after managing the funds from within the school and donor agencies.