Assessing that life is gradually returning to normal, the Association of Private Educational Institutions Nepal (Apein) has decided to resume classes at colleges and schools from May 24 and May 31, respectively.
Following the May 12 quake, the government has shut academic institutions further till May 28. Earlier, after the April 25 Great Earthquake, schools and colleges had been closed for two weeks.
Apein, an umbrella body of 11 associations of private academic institutions in the country, on Saturday decided to resume all its academic activities across the country by May-end. It has asked all the private colleges , higher secondary schools and academic institutions affiliated to the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training to resume classes from the set dates. Around 2 million students are enrolled in some 8,000 private academic institutions from the pre-primary to university level.
The new academic session that was scheduled to start from the second week of April has not yet commenced due to the quakes. “Academic activities have been halted for more than three weeks,” said Karna Bahadur Shahi, chairman of the National Private and Boarding School Association Nepal, an Apein member. “It will not be possible to complete the course on time unless we start early.”
The Ministry of Education has asked all the public and private academic institutions to readjust the academic calendar by reducing festive holidays and summer and winter vacations.
The Apein has also formed a seven-member committee led by Shahi to study the actual loss occurred in the sector and to facilitate renovation and reconstruction works. Shahi said they were carrying out a detailed study of the buildings of private academic institutions by Tuesday. Unlike other assessments where the buildings are categorised in three groups–red, yellow and green–based on the level of destruction, school buildings will be grouped into red and green only. “We want to avoid any risk to our students,” he said.
The schools and colleges categorised as green will run the classes from their existing buildings while those under the red category will set up temporary learning centres until their buildings are repaired or reconstructed. Apein estimates that some 500 school and college buildings of the private academic sector have been destroyed or partially damaged.
Shahi said students will be given psychological counselling for one week before running classes in a full-fledged manner.