Schools and colleges closed
Following the earthquake, schools in Nepal have remained closed, with the Ministry of Education recently announcing the resumption of classes from 31st May, 2015. The earthquake has had a big impact on the infrastructure of educational institutions and requires proper assessment before resuming operations. Likewise, 12th standards board exams have also been postponed until further notice, which is likely to hamper students who are applying for further studies abroad in the current year as they are likely to miss admission deadlines.
Displacement among people
An estimated 2.8 million people have been displaced after the earthquake according to the United Nations. Teachers and students have therefore been unable to return to their normal lives. Damages to schools have also prevented schools from resuming as displacement has led to shortage of labor that would otherwise have helped in the rebuilding of these schools.
Counseling camp for kids
The recurring earthquake and subsequent displacement has left the people of Nepal traumatized, and children are no exception. Adults as well as children are prone to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which causes stress, anxiety, and fear among them. The psychological impact should therefore be dealt with properly before children are sent back to schools, or rather a psychological counseling camp could be held by schools to help students overcome the potential psychological impacts.
Destruction and damages
According to the Department of Education (DoE), the earthquake destroyed and damaged 3,552 schools in 14 districts. Millions of children will therefore be unable to return to schools for months unless urgent action is taken to provide temporary learning facilities and repair damages. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has decided to provide compensation for earthquake hit schools to help create an environment for resuming schools and has allocated a budget for damaged schools that ranges from NPR 75,000 to NPR 300,000.
The latest data reveals that of the total 370,580 infrastructures damaged, 3,552 are schools. The total estimated reconstruction cost of total damaged infrastructures according to Nepal Planning Commission (NPC) is approximately NPR 700 billion. Since school amount to a meager 1% of the total infrastructure damaged, the approximate reconstruction cost of schools is estimated to be NPR 7 billion.
Rebuilding schools and lives of school children will be one of the foremost challenges. Investment will not only be required on infrastructure but also on psychosocial counseling to ensure that children are able to cope with the trauma and resume with their lives. Students who could not give their Grade 12 examinations will potentially loose a year until some arrangements are to be made for them. The process of rebuilding schools should also consider strengthening their structures, having adequate water storage, solar power back up and open area to accommodate people in case of other natural or human induced disasters.