Banke snowed under with a daunting task

DEC 11 -

With eight percent of children still out of school, Banke district has to go a long way to meet the Millennium Development Goal of total literacy by 2015, according to the District Education Office (DEO).

“We are doing our part to bring all children to school. However, the results are not as expected,” school inspector Uddhab Prasad Shrestha said. He claimed that the dropout is much worse than the status of children out of school. The DEO placed the dropout rate at 15 percent among children in the primary level, 10 percent in the lower secondary level and nine percent in the secondary level.

“The dropout rates in the lower secondary and secondary levels may decline if a good academic environment is created at the primary level,” opined Shrestha. However, some progress has been made. The number of children out of school declined significantly to eight percent from 17 percent, thanks to educational campaigns such as madrasa education, enrolment campaigns and adult education programmes.  

Poverty, a lack of awareness about the importance of education and the lack of necessary infrastructure and academic materials for disabled children in school are among the reasons behind children being out of school. Many school-going children are employed as workers in Nepalgunj hotels while others ferry illegal goods and drugs.

A study conducted by the National Federation of the Disabled Nepal (NFDN) among disabled children in Banke, Surkhet and Bardia found that differently-abled children were found to be out of school due to a lack of necessary materials such as braille books, wheelchairs, white sticks and disabled-friendly classrooms.

“Of the total children who dropped

out of the primary level, 85 percent were found to be differently-abled,” said Chairman of NFDN, Birendra Raj Pokhrel. He added that there was also a problem in the distribution of scholarships for disabled children.

Pokhrel said that resources were not been utilised properly due to a lack of coordination between the government and NGOs. The study also claimed that many disabled children were quitting school due to discouragement and low self-esteem.

Meanwhile, a national literacy campaign has been launched in 12 VDCs in

the district. District Education Officer Bhakta Bahadur Dhakal said that the

campaign aims to make 19,350 people literate this year.

According to government data, 88,912 people are still illiterate in the district. Seven thousand children are studying at more than 70 madrasas. The DEO also claimed that many children from various VDCs in the district are studying in Indian schools and colleges.

Posted on: 2012-12-11 08:22