KATHMANDU: Thousands of schools across the districts worst hit by two major earthquakes in Nepal reopened Sunday.
With most school buildings damaged or unsafe, the Education Ministry ordered that classes be held in temporary classrooms.
The earthquakes on April 25 and May 12 killed 8,693 people and injured 22,221 others. It’s estimated that more than 90 percent of schools were destroyed in the worst-hit districts of Gorkha, Sindhupalchok and Nuwakot. Almost 24,000 classrooms were damaged or destroyed.
According to UNICEF, Nepal’s high dropout rate was already a major concern. Around 1.2 million children between the ages 5 and 16 have either never attended school or have dropped out.
Niraj Kayanstha, a teacher at Changuranayan school, east of Kathmandu, told state-run Radio Nepal that about half of the 400 students came to school on Sunday. They were not studying but singing and dancing and talking to teachers about their experience during the earthquakes.
Government inspectors who were sent to the schools gave green stickers for safe buildings or red stickers for damaged ones.