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EITHER RED OR GREEN STICKER FOR SCHOOLS

NIRJANA SHARMA

KATHMANDU, May 21
children

Schools are to be marked either red or green with regard to student safety. As schools won’t be getting the yellow stickers, they can’t run classes temporarily in repaired building. The massive earthquake of April 25 destroyed thousands of school buildings across the country while many other have been seriously damaged.

The red-or-green scheme is a positive nod to the proposal of the private sector. Educational institutions had asked the government to mark school buildings completely safe or completely unsafe, which the Ministry of Education agreed to on Wednesday.

“The yellow designation is confusing for guardians and it is impractical for schools owners to resume class within eight day,” said PABSON Chairperson Lakshya Bahadur KC. Schools is 49 affected districts are to reopen on June 1.

A of now, 300 Valley-based schools, both private and community, have been affected by earthquake, with the complete destruction of 625 classrooms. As many as 904 classrooms are still standing but may collapse and time. Likewise, 503 classrooms have suffered minor damage. However, a technical team is yet to determine the safety status of all the schools.

A total of 7,532 schools have been affected in the 49 quake-hit districts, with 4,657 of them in the 14 severely affected districts. In the massively-hit districts, 14,658 classrooms have turned to rubble whereas 6,314 remain standing, albeit with serious damage and the possibility of turning to shambles. According to data available, 377 school-going children and 64 teachers were killed in the devastating earthquake and strong aftershocks.

In the three districts of the Valley and Kavre, at least 115 private schools need to be demolished immediately, according to PABSON. In Kathmandu alone, 20 school buildings are a threat to people living around the locality.

The MoE, which has already provided Rs 25,000 per affected community school for putting up cottages, has also agreed to provide tents a temporary arrangement for private school which have been completely destroyed. “Tents cannot be a long-term solution, but can only act as shelter for gathering the students during the initial days to hold informal classes,” said MoE Spokesperson Hari Lamsal.

The concern of the private sector schools about getting tents for running classes in the initial days has been duly heard, he said.

SOFT LOANS FOR REBUILDING PRIVATE SCHOOLS

In recognition of the coordination provided by the private sector in rescue and relief efforts in this time of disaster, the MoE is preparing to forward a document to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to grant soft loans to the needy schools among them.

MoE Spokesperson Lamal said that the document would be forwarded to MoE proposing speedy reconstruction of the damaged schools.

“The recent initiative is the result of private-institution support to the government in a time of disaster. The authorities have to act sensitively toward the safety of the school children,” said Lamsal.

 Published on May 21 in Republica
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About nirjanasharma

Nepali Journalist.

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