MORANG - Five years ago, Sharada Community School in Karsiya village was virtually empty even though teachers personally appealed to parents to enrol their children. Most parents preferred private schools for their children. That's changed, though, and now students from the entire community are moving from private schools to Sharada. School Principal Rabi Rajbanshi says that so many have switched that the school has run out of classrooms and is planning to expand.
Khukhar Rajbanshi, president of the school construction committee, says that faith has grown in the community school because of English medium instruction, low admission fees and no monthly charges. The parents visit the school daily to monitor the performance of the teachers and school administration. There is a sense of ownership among the community, which actively participates in the school's financial, educational and infrastructural development. Nearly 550 families have enrolled 650 children here, twice the number of five years ago. Classes must be held in two shifts, and even more children are expected to enrol in coming years.
Despite the good news, around 15 percent of school-going age children in this village still can't attend school due to poverty and the fact that they work in either teashops or brick factories. The school plans to operate mobile schools for these children if they are unable to leave their workplaces. Principal Rajbanshi says that even more could be done "if the government clarifies many issues about community schools and guarantees facilities to the teachers."