The Kathmandu Post
JANAKPUR: Students of community schools in Dhanusha have been deprived of scholarships, textbooks and mid-day meals—provisions extended by the government—due to the negligence of the local units.
Although the central government had released the budget to the local units for the purpose of providing educational facilities to students at community schools in the district, the students are yet to avail the facilities.
Teachers at various community schools have demanded that the local units return the budget allocated to those schools to the district-based Education Development and Coordination Unit in Janakpur.
Most of the 18 local units in Dhanusha have yet to hand over the budget to the schools meant for scholarships, mid-day meals, and textbooks, among others.
In Hansapur Municipality, the municipal office only released the salary and allowances of teachers in the last fiscal year due to a dispute between the mayor and deputy mayor over allocation of budget.
Satya Narayan Jha, the headmaster of Manipati Basic School in Hansapur-1, said that the municipal officials did not release the budget for scholarships and mid-day meals last year. “We don’t know what we will do this year. The students are deprived of scholarships and other facilities,” he said.
Ramgyan Mandal, mayor of Hansapur Municipality, however, said that they were unable to release the budget meant for the community schools due to the shortage of employees.
But Ram Snehi Yadav, chairman at the Dhanusha-based Nepal Teachers’ Association, blamed the lackadaisical attitude of the elected representatives in Dhanusha towards community schools. “They have shown sheer negligence and irresponsibility by not releasing the budget meant for scholarships, mid-day meals, and textbooks,” said Yadav.
Barakhu Prasad Rajak, chief at the Education Development and Coordination Unit, said that they are also receiving complaints against the local units. “The government directly sends the budget to the local units. We can only request the local units to release budget on time,” said Rajak.
Following discussion with the Education Development and Coordination Unit in January, the people’s representatives had agreed to release the budget on time. But the agreement is yet to be implemented.
The dropout rate of children remains higher in Dhanusha district but student-oriented programmes have not been properly implemented.
A total of 67,623 students were enrolled in grade one to three in the last academic year, Shailendra Mallik, a teacher, said. “If we don’t make conscious efforts to keep students in school, more than two-thirds of the current students will drop out. The programmes that will help these students stay in school must not be discontinued.”