Poverty keeps Mugu’s children from going to school

Sarjan Rawal from Chhayanathrara-9 Municipality in Mugu is a third grader at Nepal Rastriya Primary School in Karkibada, but he barely has time to attend class. Housework keeps the eight-year-old at home, and he rarely has time to go to school or study at home.

Sarjan’s family raises cows and goats for a living, and Sarjan, the second of three siblings, is expected to lend a hand.

“I have a lot of work at home and I never have time to do my homework. I sometimes keep cows and goats and collect fodder for them from a nearby forest, ”the boy said. “I’m doing well at school. But if I have more time and attend classes regularly, I can do better.

Most school-aged children in rural areas of Mugu do not go to school because they are expected to help their parents in the fields and sometimes even take care of their parents. odd jobs in the village for additional income. This leaves little time for children to focus on their education.

Sarjan’s uncle, Dhanraj Rawal, says families like theirs have no choice but to depend on children to take care of the house.

“We know the kids should go to school, but we need all of our hands because we can’t hire help to collect fodder or take care of the animals,” he said.

As children grow up to be young adults, they leave villages to look for work in India or the Gulf countries. Most of these young people find themselves in labor-intensive jobs for lack of education.

“The meager agricultural production generated by a family in a year is not enough to support the family. Therefore, the vicious cycle of out-of-school children continues as rural families struggle to make ends meet, ”Bishnu Kumar Bham, the president of Chhayanathrara-4 parish, told the Post.

Nine-year-old Harichandra BK from Rugagaun walks an hour and a half to Gamgadhi, the Mugu district headquarters, every two days to sell the firewood he collects in the forest near his house. He sells firewood at Rs 450 a load and gives the money he earns to his parents.

“If my family and I don’t sell firewood, we won’t have anything to eat,” BK said. “I can’t afford to go to school because if I do, there is one less person at work and it greatly affects our income.

According to the Education and Youth Unit of Chhayanathrara Municipality, around 60 percent of children in Sayakhola, Kotilla and Mundu in the local unit are out of school due to poverty.

Khadak Rokaya, head of the education unit, says the local unit has tried to enroll all school-aged children in community schools, but without success.

“We did our best to get every child to go to school, but we couldn’t do it,” Rokaya said. “The academic performance of students who manage to attend school is very poor. All of the students work in the fields or do odd jobs to financially support their families so that they don’t have time to focus on their studies.

Jaya Singh Tiruwa, 11, from Shreenagar village tends the fields, manages fodder and herds her family’s livestock.

“There are only a few children in the village who go to school regularly. I would like to be one of them. But my family needs me to work in the fields so that we don’t have to hire extra hands, ”Tiruwa said.

Ranga Bahadur Karki, teacher at Saraswati Primary School in Syakhola, Chhayanathrara-3, explains that the low school attendance rate of children is the main reason for the low number of students taking secondary school exams in Sayakhola. The Dalit colony has so far only had four students who have passed the SEE, according to Karki.

Mintuk Lama, 12, from Chhayanathrara-7 Municipality, is a sixth-grade student at Mahakali Secondary School in Gamgadhi. Mintuk says she wants to attend school regularly and sit down for SEE, but her family’s poor financial situation leaves her with no choice.

She has not been able to go to school for the past two weeks as she accompanies her parents to the highlands to collect herbal remedies.

“Our main source of income is herbal medicine. I help my parents collect herbs so that we can make more money, ”Lama said. “I couldn’t go to school or concentrate on my studies because of my chores at home. ”

According to Surya Khatri, head of the district education coordination committee, around 3,000 school-age children in Mugu are not in school.

“Some of them dropped out of school while many others were not enrolled in formal education at all,” Khatri said.

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