What’s the annual budget for public education in Nepal? Well, this year it’s 80 billion rupees – four times the budget for agriculture, almost three times the budget for health and – in fact – far above the budget for any other development sector in the country. Perhaps it’s not a big budget compared to the needs. But with this budget, all school children would at least have basic things like textbooks for their studies, right? Wrong. This year, tens of thousands of students began the school year without books.
started to fall ill in worrying numbers. Most TLCs are built of tin sheets without any insulation, so wind and humid cold air easily get inside. As winter bites, going to school has become a health hazard! In Ramechap, scores of children are in hospital with the cold; in Bhaktapur the situation is the same. The need for reconstruction is acute – but work is slow!Students going to school in Temporary Learning Centers (TLCs) – built after the earthquake – have
barely 35 percent – and this year it’s not likely to get better. In the districts hardest hit by the earthquake, thousands of schools still lie in ruins – many students are left to study in tin shelters or under tarpaulins – and in the Terai, bandhs and unrest over the constitution have locked down many schools for months on end!Will this year’s SLC students have a better chance than, say, last year’s class? Well, it was always hard to get through the “Iron Gate”: 10th graders have had to struggle a lot – the pass rate is