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Most Dalit students dropout before SLC exams

BISHAL BHATTARAI GULMI, June 9 :  There were 28 Dalit students at Nayagaun High School back in 2004. Over the years these students from the marginalized community kept dropping out. By the time the last School Leaving Certificate examinations were held, only two Dalit students actually appeared. “Most of them go to India following the suit of their friends,” says Yagya Prasad Gautam, the principal. “Dalit households still do not have the right environment for their children to purse studies.”  This trend of students from the Dalit communities discontinuing education at early ages has turned into a major challenge for all the educational institutions across the district.  Gautam says students from these communities hardly continue their studies if they even fail once. And most of them eventually drop out for one or the other reason.  “At the time when they reach their youth, most of them go to India for work and never continue their studies again. Moreover, there are other factors that force them to discontinue their studies and opt for work instead,” adds Gautam.  Similar is the condition of Dalit students at Mayhelepokhari Secondary School at Myal Pokhari VDC of Gulmi. Although the school had admitted 15 Dalit students in 2004, only 2 of them appeared in the last SLC exams.  “More than half of them couldn´t be promoted to higher classes as they kept failing in the terminal exams and many others left to India for work,” said school principal Ghanashyam Bhattarai.  The school record reveals that the drop out of Dalit students is more that the students coming from the non-dalit communities.  This is not at schools in Gulmi but at many other community schools across the country.  As a matter of fact, presence of Dalit students in private schools can be easily counted on fingers for all the obvious reasons. Dalits are among the poorest communities in the country.  According to school inspector Jhabilal Bishwakarma, hardly 10 percent of the Dalit students have passed the SLC exams over the past one decade in Gulmi.  “Illiteracy and consequent lack of awareness about the importance of education among the Dalit guardians have led to this story state. Things would improve once guardians starts taking interest in their children´s education and encourage them to attend classes regularly,” opines Bishwakarma. As per the record of Department of Education, a total of 5,954 Dalit students got enrolled in class 1 in 2004 across the district. The number decreased over the years. And only 465 students from the community appeared in the last SLC exams. District Education Officer Dinesh Kumar Shrestha says poverty is the main reason for the high drop out rate of the Dalit students. “There are provisions for partial scholarship for the students from the Dalit communities in schools,” he adds. “But they are not sufficient to address the need of such students.  Another major reason for the drop out, in his opinion, could be related to lack of conducive environment to address the special needs for Dalit students. “The teachers, too, need to take the initiative to educate the guardians about the importance of education,” he added. (Source: ) Published on 2014-06-10 02:47:34