Advocacy on School Zone of Peace

Education is the right of every child. It is also essential exercising other rights. Moreover, it promotes individual freedom and empowerment and provides development benefit. Needless to mention, the education is the bedrock to march towards the sign of prosperity and development. Despite this fact, millions of children in our country remain deprived from educational opportunities hindering their growth and development. In Nepal, especially in rural areas, many children fail to enroll in school as a result of poverty. From dawn to dusk, they are engaged in agricultural field or other economic activities to support their parents to meet their both ends.Last year, hundreds of educational institutions were shut down for many days due to strike called by cadres of political parties and other outlawed groups which are clandestinely operating in different parts of the country. The objective of such a strike is to exert pressure on the authorities to make their demands addressed. While the strike has become a common practice in Nepal to mount pressure on the government, the educational institutions are hit hard as they are forced to remain close during the strike depriving students from their inalienable right- the right to education. Parents send their wards to the school and colleges with a hope that they will be protected and safe within the premises of educational institutions. They view educational institutions as a non-violent zone where they are imparting the significance of education in curing the social anomalies existing in the society. Furthermore, the parents expect it to be a temple of learning in a fearless environment. Given the existing situation attributed by frequent strikes in the garb of making disgruntled voices heard, the trust of parents has decreased multi-fold. They urged the authorities and other stakeholders to seek an alternative to strikes to make their voices heard. Furthermore, frequent shutdown of educational institutions owing to strikes will not only deprived the children from educational opportunities, but also develop irreparable psychological trauma and disorder among them. Hence, there is a dire need to end the bandh culture to guarantee the fearless learning opportunities within the school and college premises. Nepali students will continue to learn in a fearful environment if the disgruntled groups fail to recognize the adverse effect created by such frequent strikes in educational institutions. According to some credible reports, children tend to develop long lasting psychological effects and irreparable scar owing to the frequent shutdown of school and colleges. The same reports also lay high emphasis on social anomalies resulting from such frequent disturbances. In another bizarre incident, some member of unidentified groups torched the school bus and vandalized the institution’s property worth thousands in the eastern district of Nepal. It has been found that the students witnessing such incidents develop a sense of fear leading to long lasting mental disorder. In urban areas, the parents do not have adequate time to oversee their wards during their working hours. As a result, the children can be easily misled and indulge in unlawful activities that could adversely affect their learning opportunities. Hence, parents on their part must supervise and provide strategic guidance on a regular basis to widen their knowledge and understanding about the significance of education in the present context. Finally, 1408 (Female -617) community and 74 key district stakeholders sensitized on significance of School as Zone of Peace. They realized that frequent strikes and protest rallies involving children increases social anomalies in an impoverished region like Nepal.