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Utprerana school on the verge of shutting down



Women studiyng in the school (2)

Gyani Karki was 50 when she enrolled in school for the first time. But Karki, who is now 60 and has appeared in the SLC exam of this year, is saddened to know that her school is hardly managing to sustain itself.

The Utprerana School that has been helping the housewives and uneducated woman laborers to study since 2004, is now on the verge of collapse due to lack of budget. The Tinkune-based school, established nine years ago, has currently 235 students from class one to 10. Like Karki, all the current students want to continue their study, which may not be possible if the school gets closed due to financial crunch.

The school authorities say that they had more students seeking admissions in the previous academic sessions, but that the number has declined this year as they have been struggling to manage adequate infrastructures at the school. Though they have sought support from government authorities, neither the Education Ministry nor the Department of Education has done much to address their problem till date.

“Our students don´t have time to go to picket ministries or government departments. Perhaps this is the reason their woes remains unaddressed,” says Gaura Upretty, founder principal of the school. “We had 350 students last year, but we have lost our students due to lack of infrastructures.”
Though the government has been conducting non-formal education classes for people who are 15 years of age or above, people across the country, particularly, women felt that the short-term adult classes were not fulfilling their dreams of continuing studies and pursuing higher education.
Thus, the school got full shape soon from their own small investments. “We felt our effort was bearing fruits after we received 40 middle-aged students within a month,” said Upretty. Likewise, the student enrollment swelled to 350 in a year.

Following the financial crisis, the teachers have not been paid for the last three months, Uprety mentioned. The school pays Rs 30,000 per month in rent. The total cost of running the school reaches Rs 1,20,000 every month, said Sumitra Mainali, acting principal of the school. The school charges Rs 300 to Rs 500 in fees.

There are 14 teachers who teach various subjects in two shifts. According to Mainali, those students who can manage time at morning hours come early, whereas most of the housewives choose to be day-scholars, as they come to school after completing all household works.

Karki, who originally hails from Sindhupalchok district, had enrolled in grade 1 in this school when her youngest son had passed SLC the same year. But now she is confident to pass SLC with average marks and get admission at plus two level.

“The government should not let such institutions die as they help empower the poorest of the poor women,” she pleaded with the government.

Source: Republica Daily


Published on 2013-05-20 02:17:26

About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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