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Click on image for more photosBung Feb2017

 

4 New Classrooms and toilets, nearly completed,  at Shree Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School, Bung

Click on image for more photos

Thanks to an International Global Grant partnered by North Wirral Rotary, UK and Dilli Bazar Rotary Kathmandu and grants from BFSS building work has now finished at Shree Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School, Bung.  In partnership with Classrooms in the Clouds, the project provides 4 earthquake resistant classrooms and clean water and gender specific toilets.  The opening ceremony for the new classrooms is on 14th April 2017.  For report prepared for BFSS about the project please click here:  

Shree Sagarmatha Higher Secondary School - Bung by Samden Sherpa, Education Development Officer, CITC

Basic Education and Literacy – Shree Sagarmatha Secondary School was established in 1954 AD. The school was named after Nepali name of the highest peak of the world, Everest. The school lies towards the South- East of Solukhumbu in a village called Bung. It serves the population of the village ward no: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, for the Secondary Education (grade 9 and 10) whereas as it mostly benefits the community of ward no 3,4,5,6 for Lower Secondary level (grade 1 to 8) 

The school got formal recognition as a primary school from the Government of Nepal. Along with the recognition the government supported teachers and constructed 6-roomed school to improve the education facility of the school. The school remained as primary school for many years although there were enough students to start the Lower Secondary Grade. Many students who completed the primary level had to move out of the village to another school for their higher studies. Those students who were financially incapable had no option but to drop out school. 

The condition remained same till multi-party democracy was introduced in the country and the political change led by the Public Revolution also brought transformation in the education system at Bung.  The school was able to attain the Lower Secondary Status and most of the children were benefited with the introduction of the lower secondary grade teaching. It thus inspired the school to attain secondary status. Now the school has been running as a Secondary School and has been serving over 700 students. There are 21 teachers serving the school among which 14 are paid by government and 7 are paid a lesser salary through the fundraising efforts of the local community. The school runs English medium Classes from grade 1-5. Since the number of students per class exceeds 40, the classes have been divided into sections and now the school runs 16 classes. Despite the remoteness and rural setting the school also has the facilities of library, computer lab and science lab for the students. 

The school is in a very poor state of repair.  With the exception of 3 recently built classrooms, the remaining 18 are well below recommended Nepalese government standards.  Before the earthquakes, they desperately needed replacing with suitable provision for a child’s education.  The earthquake inflicted more damage on already unsuitable buildings. Along with that there is minimal toilet facilities with no specific provision for young girls.  The water, as is the case in most areas of Nepal, is not clean and is responsible for disease and ill heath amongst children.  The school has 21 teachers but only 14 are government funded with the local community funding a minimal salary for the rest.  Since April last year, Classrooms in the Clouds, has sponsored 2 teachers still leaving the community to fund 5 others. 

It is a measure of the commitment of the local community to education that they find money for the teachers from what is already a poverty existence. This commitment extends to the children many of whom travel long distances to school.  The only way to travel is by foot and it is common that children travel between one and two hours in each direction between home and school. Children and grown-ups place a high value on education. 

Physical Location:  

The school is located in the hilly region of eastern Nepal and is 1600 meter above the sea level. The school is located toward the south East of the Solukhumbu bunglocationdistrict, which is also the home to the highest mountain of the world, Mt. Everest.   The school is almost 52 kms away from headquarter of the district and the nearest airport. The village shares its border with Sotang in the west, Gudel in the East, Cheskam in the North and Jubing in the South.  

The school or the village is not connected to road transportation. The school is amidst the Hunga River in the East and Vhuwa River in the North. 88 KW of electricity has been generated from the Vhuwa River. The school area is also a trekking trail to Mera Peak for the trekkers from Dhankuta, Hile, Tumlingtar, Arun Valley.  

 Social Status

The catchment area of the school is occupied by 90% of the Kulungs. They have their own language, customs, religion and tradition. The Kulung are Kirat by religion and celebrates occasions like Nagi Puja, Bhume Puja and other religious ceremonies. The major festivals of the Kulung are Chakchakur (New Year), Dashain, Tihar, Udhauli and Ubhauli. Besides the Kulung Rai, Nachhiring Rai, Kami, Damai, Sherpa and other ethnic groups also habilitate the area.  

There are total of 982 households in the VDC.  Most of the inhabitants are farmers by tradition and in modern days the villagers are attracted to the tourism sector. Many youths and teenagers even leave school for quick money in the tourism profession. Some of the people are skillful carpenter and mason.  

Table: 1

Social Construction Chart

Indigenous Population  Main Occupation Religion Major festival
Kulung Rai  Agriculture  Kirat  Chandi, Chakchakur 
Sherpa   Agriculture, Tourism  Buddhist  Loshar 
Nachhiring Rai  Agriculture  Kirat  Chandi, Chakchakur 
Chhetri  Agriculture  Hindu  Dashain, Tihar 
Kami  Agriculture and metallurgy  Hindu 

Dashain  

Tihar 

  

Table: 2

Population of the School Catchment Area

Village Ward No.   No. Of Household  Population  Male  Female 
166  796  393  403 
98  466  228  238 
105  496  233  263 
148  734  377  357 
69  315  144  171 
123  550  275  275 
60  260  135  125 
114  549  287  262 
99  354  175  179 
Total 982  4520  2247  2273 

Source: National Census 2068 

School Catchment Area

School Catchment Area refers to the areas from where the students come to study at the school. Students from all the wards of the V.D.C (Bung) come to study at the school. In Primary level, most students come from ward number: 3,4,5 and 6 whereas in secondary level students from all other wards including the neighboring village of Sotang and Cheskam.  After the completion of their school studies, students go to the neighboring village for their higher studies and some even migrate to Kathmandu for their studies. 

School Buildings – Classrooms in the Clouds are supporting a classroom building project. They plan to rebuild 4 classrooms as the first stage of a medium term project.  Currently 14 of the 21 classrooms were built from mud and stone and were in need of replacement even before the earthquakes struck.  Two thirds of its school buildings suffered major damage meaning that temporary learning shelters (tarpaulins and tents) have been erected to provide safer classrooms but these do not present a long term solution.

Samden Sherpa September 2015