There is a 13 year old boy in Jhumlawang whom teachers and elder people of the village would prefer to avoid meeting. The reason is simple; his constant inquiry, “When is our school starting?”
The boy, Nabin BK, wants a definite answer. “I want to know whether I have a chance of studying in my own village’s school,’ he reasons. He is a 6th grade student in Shree Shahid Shukra Higher Secondary School, Sima. Every morning, it takes him more than an hour walk to go to school.
“It’s not exactly a problem but it’s a very long way to walk,” Nabin states, “I don’t get much time to do my homework.” Three hours of to and fro leaves him tired in the evening. He says if the school was in the village, he could spend more time studying and helping at home.
Janmala Shrestha, mother of Urmila, 5th grade student in Shree Primary School, Jhumlawang is equally eager to know when Secondary level will start in the village. “It would worry me less if Urmila gets to study in our own school.” A JVF-Nepal member Janmala’s elder daughter Sharmila studies in Sima school. “How I wish the school extension process had started earlier,” says Janmala, “Sharmila would not have to walk such a long way, every day.”
Students studying in Sima complain of exhaustion and no time for study. While, parents are worried about their decreasing marks in exam. Also, when students join Sima school they are in their early teenage. This delicate phase of their children worries their parents. “Far from home, in another village, our children have been found to have forgotten their discipline, sometimes,” says President of Jhumlawang School Management Committee Sher Bahadur Shrestha. According to him students tend to be more prone to negative influence in neighboring village.
All these concerns has led Jhumlawangies to start the process of establishing Secondary level (i.e. till 8 grade) in the village, itself. The last meeting of teachers, parents and School Management Committee on 18th September decided that it was time for upgrade. The school has begun its preparation to get a permission from District Education Department (DED). To get a letter of support and permission from five other neighboring Secondary school is not a problem. Getting three experienced teachers also doesn’t seem much of a trouble. The hurdle is as always, financial.
“To tackle it, for a start we have decided to collect Rs. 1000 from each house,” says School’s Headmaster Hom Jung Rana. The Jhumlawang Youth Club is collecting donation by playing Deusi Bhailo in Tihar. It has already collected some amount by performing Singaru dance during Dashain festival.
Headmaster Rana is looking after all the document-process of school extension. Excited as he is about this new venture, he argues it’s not only about the necessity but also of prestige. “We are known for educated ones in this area but we still do not have secondary level school,” he says, “We cannot always be with primary school; we have to march forward.”
Parshu Ram Budha, JVF field Co-ordinator, says the students’ population makes it a compulsory. “JVF-Nepal realized this necessity a long time ago that is why we have already built the building,” The newly built school building is result of active participation of community members, diaspora members with JVF’s partnership with three organizations from three countries: Association Partages- FRANCE, Foghlaim- IRELAND, and GRC Solidarity- ITALY is giving hopes to villagers in ensuring the Secondary Level this year.
It takes three years to upgrade Primary school to Secondary level. First year, they have to sustain grade 6, then next year grade 7. In third year grade 8 is added, if successfully executed, the school gets the permission to upgrade to Secondary level.
This fact has not deterred Nabin from questioning whoever has something to do with school extension program. “I have siblings,” he says, “It will be great if they don’t have to go through all the trouble I am going through.”
Oct 11, 2014