Gopal Prasad Baral, MAHOTTARI: Children from the Musahar and Bantar communities are enrolled in school as part of the ‘Welcome to School’ campaign every year. The campaign is especially targeted to the dalit and poor communities.
But it is said retaining the children in school is very difficult. The school dropout rate is high among the children of these communities. Extreme poverty and illiteracy are the main reasons for the high dropout rate, according to the teachers.
Bhangaha Municipality has high number of Musahar and Bantar population. These two communities are the dalit communities and their economic condition is low.
“Although children from these two communities are enrolled in schools under the Welcome to School’ campaign every year, they stop coming to school after few years,” said Kamal Bahadur Shrestha, a teacher at the Madhyamik Vidyalaya school at Bhangaha-5. Shrestha has been teaching at this school for the last 30 years and his experience is that it is difficult to convince the parents of children from these communities to get their children enrolled in school. He added that even if the children from these communities are enrolled, it is hard to retain them in school.
“I am working in this school for about 30 years. Only very few students from these communities have passed the Secondary Education Examination (SEE). We visit every house of people from these communities from time to time and enroll their kids in school. But the children do not continue school. Moreover, it is more difficult to enroll the girls in school,” Shrestha shared.
Rinku Sada of Bhangaha-3 left school when she was studying in grade 9. So did 14-year-old Ambika Sada from the same locality. She dropped out while she was in grade 8. Similarly, Bina Sada left school when she was in grade 7 while Bisalu, Ruby, Ritam and Pabita dropped out school when in grade 6.
Not a single girl from Musaharitol at Bhangaha-3 has reached grade 10 so far. Among the boys, only one, Simal Sada, has passed the SEE. There are 110 households in Musharitol.
Similarly, the school dropout rate of kids is high at the Bantar community in Singyahi-3, Sakari, Palar, Siddhapur, Hatisarwa Majara, Dharmapur Anharaban and Harinamari.
There are 30 community schools, including five secondary level and 25 basic level schools, in the municipality. “These schools’ service command area covers many settlements of the Musahar and Bantar communities. Not a single student from the communities has passed grade 10,” said Arun Bhujel, an official at the education section of the Bhangaha Municipality Executive Office.
According to the Musahar girls, the high dropout rate among the children of the Musahar and Bantar communities is not only because of poverty and illiteracy. The management inside the school is also one of the reasons for that, they said.
“They don’t give us the scholarship amount meant for children from the backward and dalit communities in time. Our parents do not have money to buy note books, pen and other stationery items for us. So, we do not feel like going to school,” said Ambika Sada who left school while she was in grade 8.
As she said, even the teachers do not respond well when they ask questions to the teachers. She added that instead the teachers chided them. “We have not understood the lessons. Then time for exam arrives. You do not know how to answer the exam questions. So, there is no reason to go to school,” Ambika explained why children from the dalit community abhor school.
Most of the Musahar and Bantar community girls rued that although they want to go to school, they have been deprived of education because of the lack of cooperation from family, school and society. RSS
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