Absentee number increasing among Chepang students in Chitwan
– Hira Lal Gurung
Muglin : Majority of the Chepang students enrolled in a primary school at Icchakamana Rural Municipality in Chitwan do not attend their school regularly due to lack of stationery materials.
The majority of the students enrolled in the School that lies in the remote area with dominance of Chepang community are Chepangs. There are as many as 35 students at the Shree Surya Jyoti Primary School but only 20 of them come to school regularly.
Principal of the School Shakila Joshi shared that the Chepang students, do not come to school regularly and if even they come, they do not bring the stationery materials as books and note books, while the School is also running in slim resources.
The teaching learning activities in the School are affected in growing absence of students. Given the remoteness of the geography where the School lies, no social organizations’ representatives either visit it to provide support.
Another school at Mayataar in ward no 2 of Icchakamana Rural Municipality is also suffering the same fate. The majority of the students here also do not come with note books, books and pencils.
On the other hand, the School is nor so resourceful to provide the students with stationery materials abundantly.
Principal Padam Bahadur Chepang informed that of the 173 students studying here, 75 per cent of them were Chepangs.
Only 80-85 per cent of students regularly attend their classes in this school, according to him.
Likewise, Shree National Primary School at ward no 6 has a total of 125 students –both from Gharti and Chepang community. Among them only 70-75 per cent of the students are regular on their attendance that also without stationery materials.
School’s assistant Krishna Bahadur Gharti explained that majority of the Chepang and Gharti students come from very impoverished families.
Beside poverty, lack of awareness among the parents is also attributed for not prodding their children to send them school regularly.
National Primary School Principal Bhawana Khaniya argued that due to the financial constraints, students do not come to school. Absence of students grows especially in the winter. Due to lack of warm clothes and snacks in the school, students could not be lured.
Icchakamana Rural Municipality Education officer Deepak Sigdel admitted that it was a challenge to attract Chepang students to attend their tuition regularly.
He viewed that due to the bleak financial situation in their family, the Chepang students do not go to school regularly.
The government has discontinued the school meal programme. Education Officer Sigdel underscored the need to continue with the programme to attract as many as students to the school and to retain them.
Government earlier had been providing mid-day meal to primary level students of the community schools for the improved health and education for young school children.