Twenty-one-year-old Shubekshya Dongol, a BA second year student at Ratna Rajya Campus, often has to leave her morning classes midway and go back home to Tokha—an hour’s ride—just to use toilet .
Her college at Exhibition Road does not have running water in its toilet s. The male students usually skip classes and go to hotels outside the campus or the nearby Kathmandu Model Hospital whenever they have to use toilet . “It’s difficult for female students,” she said, adding “We do not come to college especially when we’re going through our monthly periods.”
The campus does have 10 toilet s for around 5,000 students and 190 teachers. But only two of them have running water and they are exclusively used by the teaching staff.
Bidula Ghimire, assistant campus chief, said she did not know students were facing such inconvenience. However, the campus playground and classrooms on the ground floor are usually pervaded by terrible smell emanating from toilet s.
Ghimire blamed negligence on the part of the cleaning staff for the smell. “They are not doing their job. They don’t listen to us since they are permanent employees and they know that the campus can’t fire them,” she said.
Jyoti Rai, an MA second year student at the college, said student unions should take initiatives if the campus administration is unable to resolve the problem. However, student leaders seem indifferent to the situation, she said. “It’s only during union elections that they ever think about fellow students’ problems,” Rai said.
During elections, Rai said, the toilet s not only have water but they are clean—as though the problem did not exist in the first place.
At a time when the government is building toilet s in schools across the country to address the dropout rate among girls, students in colleges, that too in the Capital, skip classes for lack of running water in toilet s.
Other colleges, including Tri-Chandra Campus, Patan Multiple Campus, Mahendra Ratna Campus and almost all blocks in the University Campus of Tribhuvan University, do not have running water in their toilet s.
Even students at the oldest higher education institution in the country, Tri-Chandra Campus, face the same problem but not as severe as that of other colleges. Tri-Chandra provides running water in, at least, some of its toilet s. “The toilet near our building lacks water and it smells terrible. We have to walk to another building to use toilet ,” said Prakriti Sapkota, a BSc first year student.
Campus Chief Hari Prasad Thapaliya said the college administration has been supplying water via tanker on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, the problem is not different with Patan Campus. Tirtha Raj Kharel, an MSc Physics student, said he goes to Patan Dhoka if he has to use toilet .
Roj Nath Panday, a spokesman for Education Ministry, said the problem does not stem from lack of funds. “It a management problem. The ministry can take action if the colleges do not address the sanitation and hygiene issues promptly,” he said.