More than 8,000 schools were destroyed by the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Children returned to classes about a month after the earthquake, but two years on, more than 90 per cent of damaged schools still have not been rebuilt.
To accommodate families who had been forced to move after the quake, all public schools were told to accept all children living in their area, regardless of where they enrolled at the start of the year, explains Aya Kibesaki of the Global Partnership for Education. Her photo essay shows what life was like for families and school children in the weeks after the quake struck.
But even before the quake, there were serious concerns about the quality of Nepal’s public education. While public education spending doubled from 2007 to 2013, and some 90 per cent of school-aged children were enrolled in primary schools, only a third of students who started school ever reached Grade 10, and only 4 out of every 10 of them passed the national exam at the end of that year, according to a 2013 report by Inter Press Service.
As of 2014, Nepal was spending considerably more per pupil on primary education than other low-income countries, but considerably less than others on secondary education, according to an analysis conducted by FHI360’s Education Policy and Data Center. And while the country ensured that more of its children attended school than almost all other low- and middle-income countries, it lagged far behind in youth literacy.
Gender biases still exacerbate inequalities throughout the country as well. Parents who can afford to pay for some education will often send their sons to private schools, while daughters remain in lower-quality public schools, explains Ashish Shrestha of Teach for Nepal. But “when one woman breaks a norm, it allows all woman to question the social norms that have always binded them,” she adds, in a colorful photo story.
In the 360-degree video below, OneWorld and Blank Spot Project take you to the mountains of Sindhupalchuk and the bustling streets of Kathmandu to explore what it’s like for the tens of thousands of school children trying to continue their education in temporary classrooms and to rebuild their lives from temporary shelters.
Article links and summaries compiled by Jeffrey Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org)