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No school for now for nearly all in Nepal

| June 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) Asia and the Pacific, has stated that more than 16 000 schools (half the country’s total) have been affected by the Nepal earthquake that struck on 25 April 2015 and measured 7.8 on the Richter scale.

A spokesperson for the Nepalese education ministry said: “A majority of schools that were destroyed were older than 50 years and built out of mud and mortar.” Global non-government organisation Save the Children estimates that in Gorkha district alone (the quake struck the hills above the town of Gorkha, to the west of the heavily populated Kathmandu Valley), 90% of the 500 schools have been destroyed or badly damaged, affecting 75 000 schoolchildren. Up to one million children across Nepal have been affected.

Roger Hodgson, deputy country director for Save the Children in Nepal, said: “Nepal’s children will need the help of the international community… otherwise, this disaster threatens to deprive thousands of children of their basic right to education for months, or even years to come.” Hodgson added that statistics show that the longer children stay out of school, the more difficult it is for them to return, for a variety of reasons, including child labour, child marriage and sexual exploitation. Right now, said Hodgson, quake-affected children also need urgent trauma counselling.

Prior to the catastrophic quake, Nepal’s education system had been making significant strides, reports Education For All in its Global Monitoring Report 2015. The country had achieved universal pre-primary and primary enrolment rates, an increase in properly trained teachers and gender parity. However, the National Society for Earthquake Technology- Nepal (NSET) attests that authorities ignored its 1998–99 warning that “school construction in Nepal has largely ignored issues of structural safety and they are built very informally”.

On May 12, Nepal was hit by a second major earthquake, registering 7.3 on the Richter scale. The epicentre was 47 miles east of the capital Kathmandu, on the way to Mount Everest Base Camp.

Category: Winter 2015

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