Non-formal women’s school in Butwal hit by financial crisis

2019-05-15

The Kathmandu Post

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- Amrita Anmol, BUTWAL : Sadhana Women’s School in Butwal, which was established 13 years ago, is on the verge of collapse due to financial crisis. The school management is now having a hard time managing remuneration for the school’s teachers and employees. 
The women’s school runs classes up to grade 10. Among the school’s 12 employees, only two are hired by the government and the school has to manage remunerations for its 10 employees.

Sabitra Aryal, chairperson of the school management committee, said that the school has been managing the remunerations through donations and volunteer service by the teachers. 
“It is impractical to ask teachers to work on a voluntary basis, but we don’t have funds to pay them salaries. We are forced to ask the employees for their services for free,” said Aryal.
Most of the school teachers hold bachelor’s degree while some have completed their master’s level as well. The average salary of a secondary-level teacher is just Rs 8,000 per month, but managing even that amount is a challenge for the school. 

Women attend a class at Sadhana Women’s School in Butwal, Rupandehi district.Post Photo

The two-storey building with 13 rooms has been constructed on a plot of land provided by Butwal Sub-metropolis. Around Rs 12.5 million was spent on constructing the building and other infrastructures. Around Rs 4 million was provided by the government and the remaining amount came through donations and with the help of the sub-metropolis, said Bishnu Kunwar, principal of the school. The then district development committee of Rupandehi and lawmaker Bishnu Poudel had provided assistance through the parliamentarian development fund.

“We have yet to pay back loans that we took to construct the building. We have to build an additional structure as the existing classrooms are not enough. I don’t know where to turn for help,” said Kunwar.

There are around 200 students, aged 13 to 65, enrolled in the school this academic session. Some of the students have been voluntarily providing donations to the flagging school. But a majority of the students come from impoverished communities, and the school has to provide them with school supplies instead. 

“The school cannot collect donation from them,” said Durga Dutta Ghimire, a teacher cum accountant at the institution. 

In an initiation of Aryal, a civil society leader, the school was established through the formation of a community trust of 50 women. The institution has now turned into a community school since the authorities concerned did not manage the government posts available at the school.

The school established with the objective to empower women through education has taught 1,410 women, among whom 65 have passed Secondary Education Exams.

“The school has been doing a lot for women empowerment, and to think that it is on the verge of closing down for lack of funds is unfortunate. We have urged all three governments--local, provincial and federal--to help us run the school, but none have come forward,” Shivaraj Subedi, mayor of Butwal Sub-metropolis, said.