The Kathmandu Post
- BHAWANI BHATTA, KANCHANPUR: Children studying at Janata Basic School in Bhimdatta Municipality-11, Kanchanpur, spend their days trying to keep themselves cool in their suffocatingly hot classrooms made of galvanized zinc sheets.
The children were moved to the makeshift classrooms after their previous school building was demolished to accommodate the Mahakali bridge project. Although the school management committee has pledged to construct a new school building, it comes as little relief to the children, as summer is upon them and staying inside the classroom has become a daily battle.
The students from kindergarten to grade 3 can be seen hunched over their books, trying to concentrate on the day’s lessons in the makeshift classroom.
“It gets very hot during daytime, as the galvanized zinc sheets trap heat inside the classroom. The students aren’t able to concentrate since it’s so hot inside. That’s why we are closing the school early these days,” said Headmaster Urbadatta Mishra. “The construction of the new school block is ongoing with the compensation amount provided by the project.”
However, it is not just the students of Janata School who are suffering from the heat wave. Most of the schools in the district—both community and private— have poor infrastructures and facilities, with the majority of them made up of galvanized zinc sheets.
“The heat becomes unbearable after 10am. The students refuse to sit inside the classrooms. Conducting classes outside is also not an option, as it gets hot outside,” said Gyanu Aagri, Headmaster of Bhagwanpur Secondary School in Belauri Municipality. “The heat either lulls the children to sleep or makes them lethargic. Studying is the last thing in their mind.”
Temperatures in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts have witnessed a maximum of 42 to 43 degree Celsius from the first week of May. According to locals, the weather is exceptionally hot as compared to last summer.
“We should look for alternatives. Building classrooms out of galvanised zinc sheets should not be encouraged. Summers are getting hotter, and we must build infrastructures suitable for the changing weather conditions,” said Aagri.There are 261 community schools and nearly as much private schools in Kanchanpur.
“The temperature has been increasing every year, and the situation keeps on getting worse,” said Bir Bahadur Chand, chairman of the Parents Association in Kanchanpur. “Schools should look for alternatives to save children from these inhumane studying conditions. They need to build children-friendly classrooms.”