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Reconstruction of quake-damaged school buildings near completion

Sindhupalchowk: The reconstruction of school buildings that were ravaged by the Gorkha earthquake and its powerful aftershocks in 2015 is the final phase in Sindhupalchok, the district worst hit by the disaster.
Around 90 percent of school buildings that were damaged by the quake have been reconstructed as of now with the support of government authorities and various non-governmental organisations. According to the district project implementation unit of the National Reconstruction Authority, 445 buildings of a total of 447 community schools were destroyed by the earthquake.

“The reconstruction of 42 school buildings is now almost complete while works on 10 school buildings have been halted due to a lack of suitable land,” said Yam Bahadur Khadka, chief at the district project implementation unit (education). “Discussions are underway with the authorities concerned to manage suitable land plots and initiate the rebuilding of the school buildings soon.”

According to Khadka, the reconstruction of other damaged school buildings has already been completed.

Various NGOs and INGOs have provided assistance for the rebuilding of the damaged school buildings, especially in the remote villages in the district. Stakeholders expect the quality of education to improve with the availability of well-facilitated physical infrastructures in rural villages.

According to the data available at the office of the district project implementation unit, as many as 212 school buildings have been reconstructed with the support of non-governmental organisations while the remaining buildings were rebuilt with the help of government authorities.

“The lockdown enforced amid fears of Covid-19 affected the reconstruction work for some months. But the work has picked up pace now,” said Khadka. “We could not disburse the final tranche of the reconstruction aid to some schools where works were halted due to Covid-19 fears. We will release the budget soon.”

A total of 3,620 classrooms of 445 community schools in the district were damaged by the 2015 earthquakes.

According to the District Education Development and Coordination Unit in Sindhupalchok, the newly constructed school buildings come with drinking water facilities and toilets.

“Although 90 percent of school buildings damaged by the quake have been erected now. There are complaints from some schools regarding shortages of classrooms,” said Krishna Subedi, chief at the District Education Development and Coordination Unit.

The District Education Development and Coordination Unit plans to address the issue by coordinating with three municipalities and nine rural municipalities in the district.

“We will launch special campaigns to provide quality education in urban centres as well as remote villages of the district,” said Subedi.

People’s representatives said that both students and teachers are elated by the reconstruction of school buildings. Banshalal Tamang, chairman of Indrawati Rural Municipality and also the general secretary of Rural Municipal Association, said, “Local units in Sindhupalchok have started taking initiations to uplift the standard of education. We plan to add necessary infrastructures to support quality education.”

By Anish Tiwari in The Kathmandu Post – January 12, 2021

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