The Kathmandu Post
JANAKPUR : It has been nearly four months of the new academic session. However, students of most community schools in Dhanusha are yet to receive the amount meant to buy textbooks. The students have also been deprived of scholarship and midday meal.
Of the total 18 local bodies in Dhanusha, most of the local units have not allocated budget to community schools for scholarship, midday meal and textbooks.
Some schools claimed that the elected representatives in their areas asked for commission to allocate the budget that they are entitled to according to the constitution. Pawan Mandal, headmaster at Tinkauriya Secondary School in Bideha Municipality, said a municipal official solicited bribe to release the budget.
Hansapur Municipality has a notorious record when it comes to budget implementation-last fiscal year Rs 9.4 million was allocated for midday meal programme for around 5,600 students of 30 community schools, but the entire budget was frozen, as the municipality failed to issue the budget on time.
The students of various community schools were also deprived of the scholarship scheme last year.
Ramgyan Mandal, mayor of Hansapur Municipality, admitted to his office’s failure to release the budget for community schools in the last fiscal year due to the shortage of staff.
“We will release the budget for this year at any cost,” Mandal said. Teachers, guardians and other stakeholders have expressed their dissatisfaction with the elected representatives for failing to effectively implement the budget.
“The people’s representatives are not concerned about the state of community schools in local units. Why don’t they release the budget for scholarships, midday meals and textbooks on time?” said Ramsnehi Yadav, the district chief of Nepal Teacher Association.
“Their incompetence is affecting students at community schools who rely on these provisions.”The government has launched various programmes, such as midday meal and scholarships, to check the alarming dropout rate in Dhanusha. But the programmes have not been implemented effectively due to the local units’ failure to allocate the budget on time.
According to the data available at the District Education Unit in Dhanusha, 67,623 students were enrolled in grades one to three in the last academic session, while the number of students from grades 9 and 10 stood at just 20,601.
“One of the reasons for such a high dropout rate is the deprivation of various facilities like midday meal, scholarship and textbook purchase expense,” said Shailendra Mallik, a local teacher.