Tortoured students’ fate uncertain

While most of the children of his age are busy taking classes of the new academic session, Nirajan Bhusal (13) along with his friends are demanding their right to education .

Staging demonstrations before the Department of Education (DoE) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) has been the daily routine of 60 students who fled from Balmandir Secondary School in Lumle of Kaski after they were harassed and tortured by some teachers and the hostel warden. Two months passed since the incident, the fate of the students, however, is still hanging in the balance.

The students who left the school on March 5 have been calling for their resettlement in any other school, a demand that has divided the MoE and the DoE. Seventy-one students from Grade 4 to 8 from 22 districts of the Western Development Region, selected through a free competition, had been studying in the school on a full government scholarship.

While the MoE, contrary to all expectations, has directed them to go to the same school, the DoE has been stressing on an alternative stating that the MoE move would psychologically affect the students.

“We were treated like animals, didn’t get proper food and sleep and were beaten frequently for no reasons,” Bhusal lamented. “Sending us to the same school means depriving us of our right to education .” The peeved students said the school administration had brunt their clothes and stationery.

Though a study team led by DoE Director Tek Narayan Pandey had claimed that it would be a suicidal move to send them back to the same school, the MoE had directed the students to return and take their examinations that starts from May 5.

It also said that as the principal and the hostel warden have been suspended, the school is a safe place for students. According to MoE spokesperson Mahasharm Sharma, as the government has already taken action against the guilty in line with the demands of students and guardians, the agitators should return back and continue their study.

Contrary to Sharma’s claim, Pandey said the students cannot be sent back where they feel insecure. “It’s the government duty to ensure quality education in a safe and fearless environment,” said Pandey. “We should respect their feeling and provide an alternative.”

The DoE has selected Gyanodaya Higher Secondary School, Kathmandu; Amarsingh School, Pokhara; JBT School, Palpa; and Manigram School, Rupendehi as an alternative relocation of the students. Only the MoE has the right to decide the matter.

source: the kathmandu post,28 april 2013