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School textbooks have failed to reach outlying villages in Karnali district

School textbooks have failed to reach outlying villages.

The transportation of textbooks has been delayed due to high airfare and road network interruption.

Despite the fact that the current academic year began one and a half months ago, community schools in Humla have yet to acquire textbooks.

Officials note that due to the high cost of travel, transporting textbooks to Humla, a rural area in Karnali Province that has yet to be connected to road networks, has been challenging.

The federal government has reduced the cost of transporting school textbooks from Nepalgung to Humla to Rs 34 per kilogram. However, air freight providers are currently charging up to Rs 120 per kg.

“Due to the threat of Covid-19, air service in the district has become sporadic. Not only on cargo flights, but also on normal flights, companies have raised fares. Because of the high airfare, we haven’t been able to transport textbooks to Humla,” said Dhanajawa Rokaya, the owner of Rokaya Book Shop, which was won the contract to transport textbooks in Simkot Rural Municipality.

The rural municipality’s community schools require a total of 5,145 sets of books. However, so far, Rokaya Book Shop has only been able to provide 600 sets. According to Rokaya, 317 sets were delivered to Mansarovar Secondary School and 283 to Balmandir Secondary School out of the 600 total.

Rokaya Book Shop is also in charge of transporting and supplying textbooks to the Namkha and Kharpunath rural municipalities’ community schools.

Similarly, textbooks for current academic year are failed to arrive to community schools in the rural municipalities of Chankheli and Sarkegad. Textbooks are typically brought by road to these two locations in the district’s southern region.

Due to the obstruction of the Karnali Corridor at Jitegada in Kalikot district, Mandev Shahi, the contractor in charge of transporting textbooks to the two rural municipalities, was unable to deliver the books on time.

Due to a roadblock, he said 2,534 sets of textbooks were stuck on the way to Chankheli. One kilogram of books costs between Rs 15 and Rs 20 to transport by road from Nepalgunj to Humla.

Textbooks are yet to arrive to community schools in Tajakot Rural Municipality.

“Recently, the rural municipality decided to hold physical education programs. Surendra Bahadur Shahi, the headmaster of Balkalyan Basic School in Tajakot, remarked, “The textbooks have yet to come.”

According to him, the school administration has been conducting physical education sessions in accordance with health security procedure for the past few days.

“However, teaching students without books is tough. He went on to say, “We’ve been teaching lessons using obsolete texts.”

School textbooks have yet to be delivered to Mugu, another remote Karnali Province region. The contract for carrying books across the district was awarded to Jayalaxmi Stationery, however the company has yet to finish the delivery.

“Mugu’s textbooks have become stranded in Surkhet. The books couldn’t be moved since vehicular traffic was disrupted in the area,” said Jayalaxmi Bham, the stationery’s owner.

The lack of books in Karnali has had a significant impact on the students.

“Fears about Covid-19 have kept schools shuttered for the previous few months. To make matters worse, we no longer have textbooks. In this setting, how are we supposed to learn anything?” Rajendra BK, a ninth-grader at Kharpunath-1’s Malika Secondary School, agreed.

(Raj Bahadur Shahi contributed reporting from Mugu.)

Source – The Kathmandu Post

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